'Young people need to be capacitated'

Apr 8, 2021, 11:42 AM | Article By: Pa Modou Cham

Lawyer Salieu Taal, continuing his testimony before the TRRC on Wednesday 7 April 2021, saysYoung people in The Gambia need to be capacitated to enable them become more vibrant and efficient in the country’s development.

The prominent lawyer called for more youths in the National Assembly, councillorship positions and other sectors. He stated that the country’s young people should be united and eschew working as sailors.

Mr. Taal still dwelling on the right violations of Gambians, recollected the incident of the state versus Maimuna Taal, former director of Gambia Civil Aviation, who happens to be his first cousin.

“There was a contract funded by the Kuwait government to work on the Airport. M.A.Kharafi together with the former President Jammeh were interested in the contract and later ordered for Civil Aviation through Maimuna Taal to pay $10,000,000. Mrs. Taal was surprised because Civil Aviation didn’t have such an amount of money. However, in 2005, she was dismissed, arrested by the NIA and charged with seven counts of 'Economic Crimes' for allegedly renovating the DG’s office and part of the staff quarters which cost about a million dalasis. Surprisingly the GPPA was never called as a witness in the two years trial of Mrs. Taal.”

He said Mrs. Taal was later discharged and acquitted by Justice Mahoney.TheState wanted to re-arrest her but was smuggled out of the country.

"The Ministry of Justice was used as an instrument for injustice and oppression," said Taal.

Dwelling on the interference of the Ministry of Justice on politically motivated cases, he said, there was a land bought by a German in Tranquil, Bijilo and allowed the locals to farm on it. He confirmed he was the lawyer for the German, who was with one Alieu Barry.

“However, the alkalo of Bijilo together with some agents demarcated the land into 22 pieces. The matter went to court and luckily he won the case.”

According to Taal, Lawyer Lamin A.M.S.Jobarteh alias BabadindingJobarteh, who was the defendant for the other party, later became the minister of Justice and had some degree of control of the security. As a result, he said Mr. Jobarteh influenced the wrongful detention of his client and forcefully deported him; adding that Jobarteh threatened both him and Christopher Meneh to discontinue the case or risk being jailed.

On the issue of Executive Interference, he said the recommendation for the judicial appointment was vested on the Judicial Service Commission. However, he added that it was interesting to note that people lobbied to be judges.

Comparing former Court of Appeal Judge, Fagbele and former Chief Justice Emmanuel Agim, he said Justice Fagbele bought an ‘ashobee’ and circulated a memo for all judges to buy in support of the Rule of Law.

Taal then encouraged the Commission to invite some staff of the Judiciary to come forward and explain about some of the things that happened at the judiciary.

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