BREAKING NEWS: WE UNVEIL THE NAMES OF THE LAWYERS, WHO DRAFTED THE JUNTA’S DRACONIAN DECREES AND OTHER BAD LAWS POST MILITARY RULE!

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Gambia’s Truth Commission was set up with the ultimate objective of documenting what the commission called “the country’s historical records: ranging from July 22nd, 1994 to January of 2017, when Jammeh’s decades long tyrannical rule had ended.” However, the Commission hasn’t documented the names of the former legal draftsmen at the Attorney General Chambers, who were responsible for the drafting of some of those draconian decrees and other bad laws that its Lead Counsel Essa Faal, has been lamenting about. As the saying goes: Behind any dictator in Africa, there is an enabler. Sadly, in our new Gambia, former Jammeh enablers have been tasked to run the nation’s transitional justice including accountability programs. The state capture was possible—thanks to Ousainou Darboe, the former Gambia’s De Facto President. Former Jammeh officials and enablers, who had a fallout with the dictator, were summoned to help shape the direction of the new Gambia. Such former officials could be found at the former Janneh Commission, the former Constitutional Review Commission, and the TRRC.

There has been public outcry in recent days about some of the draconian decrees that Lead Counsel Essa Faal had claimed were responsible for the oppression of Gambians during Jammeh’s twenty-two years rule. Former Attorney General and Minister of Justice Mr. Fafa Edrissa M’Bai was on Essa Faal’s chopping board. Faal couldn’t understand as to why Mr. M’Bai would allow the passage of such decrees during his watch as AG. He had a legal fight with Mr. M’Bai during his days’ long testimony.

At some point, Mr. M’Bai concluded that Faal was on a fishing expedition and Banjul was Faal’s audience to telegraph his chest game with the highly respected legal luminary.

In Faal’s view, M’Bai was allegedly responsible for the “miseries” that his Banjul Kotos such as Badou Faye, Pa Cham, the late Abou Denton, and co had suffered during the junta’s rule.

For those of you, who doesn’t know Badou Faye, Faye was the former Managing Director of the defunct Gambia Commercial Bank. This was the bank that the Banjul mafia had wrecked to the ground, it was rendered bankrupt, thanks to the endemic corruption culture during Jawara’s rule.

Mr. M’Bai’s past role as former magistrate and Attorney General in the first and second republics, when it comes to holding the Banjul economic vampires accountable for their financial crimes against the state, had earned him the title of being a public enemy.

Like Mr. M’Bai, Essa Faal was the Lead Counsel for the Williams’ Commission during the junta’s transitional rule. This was the Commission that investigated parastatals such as Gamtel, The Gambia Ports Authority, Social Security, just to name a few.

It should be noted that Pa Cham was the Managing Director of The Gambia Ports Authority prior to the coup. The decrees that Mr. Faal had been lamenting about were used to hold Mr. Cham and co accountable.  Pa Cham later reached a payment arrangement with the state. He was assessed and if we are not mistaken, he paid five million dalasis to earn his freedom. Essa Faal was the Lead Counsel of that commission.

Now that said, it is important to observe that throughout the TRRC’s proceedings on theme centered on the judiciary and The Gambia Bar Association, there hasn’t been any mention of the legal draftsmen and women, who authored the draconian decrees that Mr. Faal has been lamenting about. Is it deliberate on the part of Faal to conceal the authors of those decrees? Or is he trying to hide his past complicity in using such bad laws to probe the former PPP officials? Your guess is as good as mine.

Who were the former draftsmen/draftswomen at the AG Chambers?

Mrs. Janet Sallah Njie is a professional legal draftswoman. She was onetime the head of the Legal Drafting Unit at the AG Chambers during the military junta. She was the Solicitor General and Legal Secretary from 1998 to 2000. In this position, she advised on, and was responsible for, the development and formulation of policy on the Gambian legal sector as a whole, including matters concerning the Judiciary of the Gambia. As Solicitor General and Legal Secretary, she was responsible for the following departments: Source: http://www.torodochambers.com/janet.html

  Legislative Drafting

  Registrar General

  Registrar of Companies

  Official Trustee and Intestate Estates

  Law Reform Commission

  National Council for Law Reporting

  The African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies

During her tenure at the Attorney General’s Chambers she was also appointed as Parliamentary Counsel with overall responsibility for the Legislative Drafting Division and the drafting of all legislative and legal instruments for the Government of The Gambia, according to a website associated with Mrs. Njie’s  law firm Torodo Chambers.

In 2000, after a meritorious service at the Ministry of Justice, said the site, she was redeployed to the Central Bank of The Gambia, as legal adviser to the Governor of the Central Bank of The Gambia. She was responsible for advising the Governor and drawing up legal instruments on matters relating to the Supervision of banks, insurance companies and micro-Finance institutions.

Mrs. Njie was Essa Faal’s boss at the AG Chambers Legal Drafting office.

Justice Cherno Sulayman Jallow:  Mr. Jallow was the Legal Draftsman, who drafted the junta’s Decree number one. This was the decree that suspended the 1970 constitution.  Lawyer Amie Bensouda was the Acting Attorney General and Minister of Justice at the time of the coup. Her boss Hassan Jallow was among the former PPP officials detained.

After years of public service at the AG Chambers, drafting the draconian Decrees and other bad laws, Jallow left and pursued greener pastures overseas. He had served as former Attorney General for the British Virgin Island from 1999 to 2007.

When the change of government happened in December of 2016, he was hired as a Supreme Court Judge. He was also appointed to head the country’s Constitutional Review Commission (CRC).

ESSA Mbye Faal: Like Justice Jallow, Essa Faal, was also a Legal Draftsman at the AG Chambers. It was Justice Jallow, who recommended him to pursue legal drafting studies, with the help of the junta’s former Justice Minister Hawa Sisay Sabally. Essa had a scholarship to study legal drafting.

When Janet Sallah Njie and Cherno Sulayman Jallow left the AG Chambers, Essa Faal, was the main man, who was drafting some of those bad laws that he was complaining about. He was helping the junta to draft those bad laws.

Faal was a lone guy working in the drafting office, drafting laws, according to what he told Harona Drammeh, in an interview dated October 8th, 2019. He stayed there until post military rule transition period.

Faal had worked under Amie Bensouda and Fatou Bensouda during the military rule. As reported above, he was the Lead Counsel for the Williams Commission. His former boss Fatou Bom Bensouda had delegated him at the time to represent the ministry at the Prison’s Council, the good governance task force, the law reform commission, the law reporting commission, and some of the high-profile cases that were handled by the former Director Public Prosecution (DPP), Faal told journalist Drammeh.

He stayed at the AG Chambers until 1997. At the end of 1997, Faal was appointed as first secretary and later counselor for legal affairs at The Gambia’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations (UN), based in New York, United States,  according to Wikipedia.

Essentially, Faal could be one of the drafters of the 1997 constitution that he had branded as draconian.  Interestingly, he brought in his lawyer friend Gaye Sowe, Sheriff Marie Tambadou, Cherno Marenah, Neneh Cham and co to discuss some of the draconian provisions contained in the 1997 constitution.

Shockingly, poor Gambia never knew that he was among the junta’s drafters. He was working with the Ghanaian legal experts to help draft that tailor made constitution called the 1997 constitution. His fingerprints are on that constitution.

Faal was later deployed into the Foreign Service when Sidat Jobe was Gambia’s Foreign Minister. He was posted at The Gambia Permanent Mission at the United Nations. He later found his way to the UN Court in the Hague, where he worked as a Defense Counsel. He was also a prosecutor in Darfur, his Wikipedia page stated. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essa_M._Faal.

Given his past association with Jammeh’s repressive regime, the million-dollar question is: Is Essa Faal not a conflicted Lead Counsel?

It is a rigged system. It is also an animal farm system. Some animals are not equal. Hence that’s why witnesses are treated differently.

On Monday, the former Attorney General and Minister of Justice Joseph Joof was received by a junior counsel at the TRRC. With no disrespect intended, the Counsel, who processed Joof, was going to high school when Joof was AG.

Essa Faal was nowhere to be seen. He avoided facing his learned senior Banjul brother.

Per information reaching us, former AG Kebba Sanyang and Amie Bensouda have also been scheduled to appear before the commission.  It wouldn’t surprise us if Essa would process Sanyang in the witness box. He cherry picks on witnesses to process.

In the case of Amie Bensouda, Essa will not be as firm as he did with Fafa M’Bai.  He is Amie’s boy, boy.

Folks, Gambia’s transitional justice program has fallen into the hands of people of questionable impartiality. Like Cherno Sulayman Jallow, and Essa Faal, Amie Bensouda was the lawyer for some of the parastatals that Jammeh was accused of stealing millions from. She was cited for tax evasion in the amount of six million dalasis during Jammeh’s rule.  She was appointed Lead Counsel in the Janneh Commission to investigate Jammeh. Interesting, right?  Welcome to the new Gambia, where the thieves are running the asylum.

Written By Pa Nderry M’Bai

Email: [email protected]

Tel: 919-749-6319

Below is Mrs. Janet Ramatoulie Sallah Njie’s biography.

Janet Ramatoulie Sallah Njie – Managing Partner

Janet Sallah Njie’s professional expertise includes commercial law and practice, family law, human rights law, real estate law, immigration and employment law and civil and criminal litigation. She has experience of undertaking consultancies on varied subjects, including environmental law and policies, children and gender, legislation and policy, HIV AIDS law and policy, forest legislation and policy and local government reforms and access to justice. She is a renowned women’s rights advocate and is the founder and first president of the Female Lawyers Association-The Gambia (FLAG), a charitable organization that offers free legal advice to vulnerable women and children in the Gambia. Janet Sallah- Njie also provides legal advice on a voluntary basis for a number of initiatives and organizations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prior to joining private practice and establishing TORODO CHAMBERS in 2002, she served in various positions within the public sector , from 1989 to 2002, including the Ministry of Justice and the Central Bank of The Gambia. She was the Solicitor General and Legal Secretary from 1998 to 2000. In this position, she advised on, and was responsible for, the development and formulation of policy on the Gambian legal sector as a whole, including matters concerning the Judiciary of the Gambia. As Solicitor General and Legal Secretary, she was responsible for the following departments:

  Legislative Drafting

  Registrar General

  Registrar of Companies

  Official Trustee and Intestate Estates

  Law Reform Commission

  National Council for Law Reporting

  The African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies

During her tenure at the Attorney General’s Chambers she was also appointed as Parliamentary Counsel with overall responsibility for the Legislative Drafting Division and the drafting of all legislative and legal instruments for the Government of The Gambia.

In 2000, after a meritorious service at the Ministry of Justice, she was redeployed to the Central Bank of The Gambia, as legal adviser to the Governor of the Central Bank of The Gambia. She was responsible for advising the Governor and drawing up legal instruments on matters relating to the Supervision of banks, insurance companies and micro Finance institutions.

Her Formal qualifications include:

  LLB Hons degree, Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone

  BL, Nigeria Law School

  LLM, London School of Economics and Political Science

  Advanced Diploma in Legislative Drafting, University of West Indies, Cave Hill Campus

She has also benefitted from several training programmes and professional development courses including training programmes in competition Law and Policy, Intellectual Property Rights, Environmental Law and Policy, Gender and Development, Alternative Dispute Resolution and Sharia Personal Law applicable in The Gambia.

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