Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Why Gambia's judiciary is corrupt

Chief Justice Emmanuel FAGBENLE
When the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, whose services were terminated only for the Gambian dictator to reverse himself at the urging of his Attorney General and Minister of Justice, solicited an interview to praise-sign Jammeh's benevolence and to publicly thank him for "giving (them) ten brand new executive cars for the ten new judges and a new complex for their accommodation", the time has come for national self-examination of our sense of justice for Gambians.

In addition to the "executive cars", according to the Nigerian Chief Justice, Jammeh also "gave a staff bus meant to reduce the problem of staff mass transit or movement,' all in the name of "bringing justice to the doorstep of every Gambian."

In addition to providing new cars and a new residential building complex for his mercenary judges, Jammeh has, as of late, flooded the judiciary with twelve additional judges to cope with the hundreds of cases,, almost all political in origin but criminal in nature, that seem to have clogged the system.

The judiciary has become a favorite and potent instrument for a dictatorship that has an indisputable low tolerance for political dissent and the Nigerian mercenary judges, including Justice Emmanuel Fagbenle who initially joined the Justice Department as Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) under Nigerian Technical Assistance.  He was transformed into "local hire" at the end of his contract and he's now being paid by Gambian taxpayers.  It is, therefore, curious for him to consider, as gift. executive cars from Jammeh which suggests the extent of the blurring of the boundaries between the public treasury and Jammeh's pocket.

Chief Justice Fagbenle's previous position of DPP at the Justice Ministry is now occupied by another Nigerian national, S.K. Bakum who, like his predecessor, has also proven to be a prolific manufacturer of (false) evidence against Jammeh's political opponents..  Prior to being substantively appointed to the Chief Justice (CJ) post, he acted briefly as Chief Justice following the bizarre departure of the Ghanaian-born Chief Justice and before the arrival of the Pakistan-born Ali Nawaz Chawhan who was dismissed and expelled from The Gambia after a year on the job.  He refused to soil his international and professional reputation by carrying out the instructions of Jammeh, a judicial interference he neither accommodated nor tolerated.

Unfortunately, the Nigerian judges and prosecutors are a different breed as demonstrated by Chief Justice Fagbenle's using the official mouthpiece of the regime to praise Jammeh for his benevolence.  As long as Jammeh continues to bribe members of the judiciary by offering them "executive cars and luxury apartments" in addition to other perks, the Gambian judiciary will continue to serve the interest of the dictatorship and not the interest of the Gambian people.