By Rohey Jadama Justice Simeon A. Abi of the Banjul High court on Thursday 30th April dismissed the application of Shyben A. Madi and Sons Limited, holding that it lacks merit.The state was represented by M. B. Abubacarr, while the applicant was represented by Ida Drameh, A N. D Bensouda, Mrs. Hawa Sisay Sabally and Y. H. Cox. Mr Shyben Madi of Shyben A. Madi and Sons Ltd who was in detention was absent from court. The application sought for an order to restrain the National Drug Enforcement Agency (NDEA) “from acting in contravention, or violation of the provisions of the Drug Act and the Constitution of The Gambia in relations to the applicants until further order of the court.” They also sought for a provisional order to restrain NDEA from interfering with the operation of the company or enjoyment of its property without a court order. Thirdly, they sought for an order directing the respondent to remove all seizures of and restraints placed on the company’s premises and properties on Friday the 17th day of April 2015 until further order of this court. The lawyers added that section 5 of the constitution enables the court to make orders and give directions and that it confers the right on any person to bring an application where it is alleged that any provision of the Constitution is being breached. Section 5(2) of the Constitution empowers to make orders on such application. Lawyer Ida Drameh added, that the constitution guarantees every person charged with a criminal offence a fair hearing within a reasonable time in section 24(1) and also provides for the presumption of innocence in section 24(3). She said the applicant will suffer irreparable damage unless some provisional measures can be obtained from the court. She said the items in the sealed stores include perishable goods, rice, flour, sardines, etc. She argued that no court order was produced and no documentation was produced to justify this unconstitutional sealing and that even the names of the people who took over this possession were not given. She said after closing the premises the NDEA took three employees, detained them and charged them with drug offences. She referred to further additional affidavit which sets out some details of the difficulties the company faces because of the actions of NDEA. The trial judge in his ruling said it is clear from the forgoing that the whole build up to this entire saga is the discovery of some suspected substances now confirmed to be cocaine in the consignment of containers imported and being sold by the applicant (the company). He said it is not in dispute that the respondent (NDEA) is the appropriate authority to deal with matters concerning drugs like cocaine. The trial judge added, “it was contended by the respondent that the seizure of the applicant’s premises was done to secure the items in the premises for the purpose of the ongoing investigations. “I consider all arguments as supporting these main contentions on both sides and I do not wish to review or analyze them here. I do not find that the applicant has made out a case for the grant of the reliefs sought in the summons on notice”, ruled the trial judge. The presiding judge then struck out all the three reliefs sought by the company and accordingly dismissed the summons on notice as lacking merit. The proceeding on the originating summons was adjourned till 12th May for hearing.]]>
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