A professional body of lawyers in Gambia, Gambian Bar Association, has called for the resignation of the country’s Chief Justice who they accused of “misconduct” in an open letter seen by The Torch.
Chief Justice Emmanuel Fagbele is a Nigerian national who is responsible for assigning cases to judges in the country and also the president of the Supreme Court.
The GBA said in the letter released on Monday that they have unanimously reached the decision at an emergency meeting held on the 12th day of December where they passed a resolution mandating their executive to call for CJ’s resignation.
“It was resolved by the members of the GBA that your conduct during the presidential campaign has brought disrepute to the Office of the Chief Justice,” the statement said.
“The position of the Chief Justice is a constitutional position and as the Head of the third arm of Government, you are expected to maintain and uphold certain standards. You have, in our considered view woefully failed to adhere to these standards.”
Click and read the open letter GBA wrote to Chief Justice cj-resgination-letter
GBA said the CJ’s “recent conduct, particularly during the campaign period for the 2016 Presidential Elections” were legally inappropriate as he has shown loyalty to APRC.
“You were seen during the campaign period and prior to campaign period openly attending political rallies of the APRC. On the day of the nomination of the Incumbent President, you were seen in front of the court premises waving and dancing in support of the incumbent Presidential parade,” the statement said.
“Several members of the Bar saw you wearing APRC apparel on the Court premises. You were distributing APRC apparel to the Court staff and making preparations for the victory celebration of the incumbent President.”
The GBA further charged that the CJ’s throughout his tenure as Chief Justice has acted to perpetuate the will of the outgoing President.
“You interfered with judicial officials who were presiding over cases and caused them to be dismissed when they made decisions which were deemed to be against the State’s interest. In the case of the State v OusainouDarboe&Ors, you caused the Presiding Judge to expedite the hearing of the case and their conviction.You transferred the case of The State v LaminSonko&Ors to the High Court sitting at Mansakonko,” the statement further stated.
“There was no basis for the transfer of this case as the Mansakonko court had no jurisdiction to hear the case. This action was calculated to ensure that the defendants could not get legal representation thus easing their conviction. You further failed to respond to the letter from Counsel representing the Defendants protesting the transfer. You gazetted new Rules for the Supreme Court without following due process. You further failed to respond to the GBA when it protested this action.”
GBA concluded that it does not have faith in CJ’s ability to discharge the function of Chief Justice, adding that they believe he is not a fit to hold the office.
“We thus urge you to resign from this position with immediate effect failing which the GBA will pursue all avenues to have you dismissed for misconduct under the Provisions of Section 141 of the Constitution,” GBA added.