|Justice Emmanuel Amadi|
The Gambian judiciary was among the most independent in Africa prior to the military takeover in 1994 and before the replacement of the Commonwealth-sponsored judges by freelance-judges and magistrates engaged by the Yaya Jammeh dictatorship.
Many of these new class of judicial personnel, that includes public prosecutors, came from Nigeria and Cameroon, and with the new arrangement, came injustice. Some within this class were recruited and hired in Banjul, from other government institutions or straight off the unemployment line to serve the interest of the Gambian dictator instead of justice.
One such judge was Justice Emmanuel Amadi who, during his tenure, presided over some of the most politically-motivated and malice-driven cases, almost all of them with instructions coming straight from the Gambian dictator to him or through his Minister of Justice regarding the desired judgement.
Some of the most controversial cases involved alleged coup plots, the military and civil servants who have been the prime target of a dictatorship that, from the unset, targeted this class of public employees for prosecution. In the case of Momodou Sabally, former Secretary General of the Civil Service and Minister for Presidential Affairs, who was charged with causing the delay from Johannesburg - Banjul of the departure of the Vice Presidential plane by fifteen minutes.
The charges were frivolous and thus should have been thrown out by the judge for wasting the time of the court. Instead, Judge Amadi allowed the case to proceed despite the state using inordinate delaying tactics bordering on contempt of court which drove the judge to threaten packing his bags and returning to Nigeria which led us to demand his resignation or be fired.
On the day that judgement was to be delivered, the court abruptly adjourned. And a few days before the court reconvened, Jammeh issued an executive order pardoning the accused further demonstrating the sham that is the state of the Gambian judiciary. The decision of the judge was preempted by the dictator's executive fiat.
Judge Amadi's handling of the Sheikh Tejan Sosseh's case of the Ministry of Agriculture who was accused of "economic crime" because he returned the balance of funds after successfully implementing a European Development Fund-financed and a World Bank-administered project, as dictated by donor requirement.
The regime drag the Project Manager to court in 2013 and charged with economic crime and negligence of duty. Up to the time of going to press, the case is pending. Now that Judge Amadi, who was handling the case, is returning to Nigeria, the case will now have to be handled by a third judge, after the first judge named Judge Emmanuel Nkea from Cameroon had to skip town when he fell out with the Gambian dictator to evade certain arrest.