By Mamadou Dem
The ‘Janneh’ Commission of Enquiry Chaired by Sourahata Janneh, yesterday 30th October 2017, dismissed the application made by Lawyer Mary Samba, on behalf of Business Tycoon Amadou Samba, for the discharge of the interim order.
Chairman Janneh ruled that the application made by Samba’s attorney that they were not notified prior to the issuance of the order, was also dismissed.
Earlier, the chairman ruled that the applicant is at liberty to apply to the Commission to discharge or set aside the orders, noting that the applicant shares the same order in clause A of the interim order, as that of the families and close associates of the former President. Commission Chairman Janneh further stated that the applicant’s Counsel did not put forward for the determination of the orders.
Chairman Janneh at that point cited the Decree of the AFPRC/APRC immediately after taking power in 1994 through a Coup d’état which led to the establishment of a Commission of Enquiry to investigate the rampant corruption of the Jawara regime; that the first Act of the Commission of Enquiry in the Constitution was in 1903 under the colonial era and the recent Commission is in consistent with this.
He said Mr. Samba and other witnesses, Muhammed Bazzi and Fadi Mazegi are considered to be close associates of Yahya Jammeh and over D200 Million and $10M being government monies, are missing which are currently under investigation. He said except by the decision of the Chairman, the hearing will be held in public in the interest of the public and members of the public are urged to provide information on assets belonging to close associates, being it within or outside the jurisdiction and such information will be treated as ‘confidential.’
The Chairman of the Commission highlighted that the applicant’s application was not for the variation of the interim order, but for its discharge; that he will determine as alleged by Mr. Samba’s attorney, as to whether the Commission acted ‘ultra vires’ (beyond its Constitutional mandates).
At that juncture, he cited from the rule of the High Court order and Section 14 of the 1903 Commission Act, to give weight to his ruling; that the Commissioners are not obliged to inform anybody their duties to hire a legal counsel. He said Mr. Samba should have sought for a legal practitioner given that Jammeh was democratically removed from power through the ballot box and his Counsel’s argument holds no water.
He said the Commission did not see the immunity and liberty of Mr. Samba as cited by his Counsel in her application and therefore the application fails in its entirety and is therefore rejected.
Counsel Samba applied to be availed with a copy of the ruling and record of proceedings, but was asked to make her application through the Secretariat. She also applied to be given the opportunity to respond to the allegations made by other witnesses against her client.
Meanwhile, the Commission will go for a recession till 7th November 2017, and Mr. Samba is expected to continue with his evidence when the Commission resumes proceedings.