Gambia’s Justice Minister Abubcarr Tambadou says neither President Adama Barrow nor the office of the President, has interfered with the pending case of the accused police intervention unit officers, who are standing trail on murder charges. He denied that The Gambian leader has obstructed justice. Freedom Radio’s Pa Nderry M’Bai, last night said in his prime time news analysis show that The Gambian leader, risked being investigated for obstruction of justice by the National Assembly, in view of the State House press release. This followed, a press release from the State House intimating that the President Adama Barrow has accepted an appeal from the community of Faraba Banta to drop the murder charges against the accused officers. “The Office of the Attorney General notes the concerns expressed over the recent press release from the Office of the President about the discontinuation of the prosecution of the Faraba Banta PIU 5 and others, and wishes to inform the general public that the said press release from the Office of the President should only be regarded as conveying the Presidency’s support to a request by the affected families in Faraba Banta to discontinue the criminal cases resulting from the Faraba Banta Commission of Inquiry. The said request by the affected families, which is not unusual in this jurisdiction, was properly addressed to the Attorney General and was made through the Alkalo of the Village,” Tambadou said in a press release issued today.

“The request is still under consideration by the Attorney General, and the Office of the President was only consulted for its views on the request in light of the fact that the Faraba Banta incident on 18 June 2018 was of such national tragedy and importance that it warranted the establishment by His Excellency, the President, of a Commission of Inquiry under Section 200 of the 1997 Constitution,” he added.

The Justice Minister also expressed concern about the choice of words used in the State House press release. “In this regard, the Office of the Attorney General affirms that the Office of the President did not, and has never attempted to, interfere with the exercise of this discretion, and therefore considers the recent press release from the Office of the President as an unfortunate choice of words,” he said.

Below is the full text of the press release.

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The Office of the Attorney General notes the concerns expressed over the recent press release from the Office of the President about the discontinuation of the prosecution of the Faraba Banta PIU 5 and others, and wishes to inform the general public that the said press release from the Office of the President should only be regarded as conveying the Presidency’s support to a request by the affected families in Faraba Banta to discontinue the criminal cases resulting from the Faraba Banta Commission of Inquiry. The said request by the affected families, which is not unusual in this jurisdiction, was properly addressed to the Attorney General and was made through the Alkalo of the Village.

The request is still under consideration by the Attorney General, and the Office of the President was only consulted for its views on the request in light of the fact that the Faraba Banta incident on 18 June 2018 was of such national tragedy and importance that it warranted the establishment by His Excellency, the President, of a Commission of Inquiry under Section 200 of the 1997 Constitution.

In this regard, the Office of the Attorney General affirms that the Office of the President did not, and has never attempted to, interfere with the exercise of this discretion, and therefore considers the recent press release from the Office of the President as an unfortunate choice of words.

The Office of the Attorney General reassures the general public that the exercise of prosecutorial discretion is vested exclusively in the Attorney General which he executes mainly through the Office of Director of Public Prosecutions and the Inspector General of Police. This discretion is exercised with due consideration to several factors including the public interest, and the wishes of the victims’ families.

Banjul

9 January, 2019

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