Tribunal Rules to hear case against Anglican Diocese

By Yankuba Jallow

The Kanifing Industrial Tribunal Court has ruled to continue the case filed by Reverend Father Cephas Tema a former principal, clergy and teacher of the Anglican Diocese The Gambia against the Anglican Diocese The Gambia.

In the suit, Reverend Father Cephas is claiming for an amount of D952,041.80 (nine hundred and fifty two thousand and forty one dalasi eighty bututs) for settlement of what he considered unlawful termination of contract.

The Diocese was denied its application by the court to strike out the case. The Diocese in its application applied for an order striking out this suit on the grounds that it is an abuse of court processes bringing citations from article XXIX which are exhibits JB1 and JB2 which are prefaced to be an article of dispute resolution and sets out procedures for disputes to be settled. The motion was supported by an 18 paragraph affidavit sworn to by one John B. Bright who claimed to be the Registrar of the Anglican Diocese of The Gambia and also tendered two exhibits to support its argument. The plaintiff/ respondent in this case filed a 16 paragraph affidavit in opposition supported with 5 Exhibits.

The magistrate, N. Blessed said the court has looked at both arguments from the counsel for the defendant Lawyer Frederic C. Forster and counsel for the plaintiff lawyer Lamin J Darbo and that the tribunal has jurisdiction to determine claims raised by any party in accordance with section 29 of the Labour Act 2007 of the Gambia. He added that section 83 subsection (1) states reasons to which an employment contract could not be terminated or terminated. That the assertion made by the defendant about internal remedial process does not count in this case as the plaintiff cannot go back to report to the same body that terminated his appointment for any internal process since the termination has severed all other working relationship the plaintiff must have had with the defendant. Blessed further said in her ruling that to terminate the appointment of the Rev Fr. Cephas is regarded as the last action to have been taken as the defendant should have exhausted all other options before resorting to terminating the plaintiff appointments in this case.

The magistrate, N. Blessed, who presides in the Kanifing Industrial Tribunal, in conclusion refused the application made by the Defense counsel Fredrick C. Forster of Kansala Law Chambers representing the Anglican Diocese of Gambia. The case was scheduled to proceed with the testimony of the plaintiff who is the first witness to testify in the case on 23rd August 2017 at 2:30pm. However upon the request of defence counsel soon after the witness resumed his testimony, the matter was adjourned.