No official explanation for removal of judges, magistrates

By Muhammed Sailu Bah
The Gambian judiciary has recently been affected by the mass removal
of judicial officials, including two Supreme Courts judges and two
magistrates of the lower courts, without any official explanation
advanced for the reason for this purge.Justice Gibou Janneh, one of the longest serving members of the
Supreme Court of The Gambia, and Justice Raymond Sock as well as
magistrates Jacqueline Nixon Hakim and Samsideen Conteh were all
removed from their positions, as confirmed by Mr. Landing Sanneh, the
Judicial Secretary.
When asked about the reasons behind the termination of the services of
these judicial officials, Mr. Sanneh said all that he can say is that
they are no longer working with the judiciary.
This development, however, came in the wake of the removal under
similar unexplained circumstances of the former Chief Justice of The
Gambia, Ali Nawaz Chowhan on 12 May.
Some of these judicial officials have recently made landmark judgments
on certain widely publicized cases. Justice Janneh was the judge who
read out the Supreme Court judgment on the high profile appeal case
involving Lt. Gen. Lang Tombong Tamba, former armed forces chief, and
Rear Admiral Sarjo Fofana, former commander of the navy, and in which
the latter was acquitted and discharged on 6 May 2015.
As for Magistrate Conteh, she presided over the case of Mr. Sait Matty
Jaw, the University of The Gambia (UTG) Lecturer, who was later
acquitted and discharged on four counts on 29 April of this year.
Magistrate Hakim freed the two journalists, Musa Sheriff and Sainey
Marenah, of conspiracy and false publication charges on 10 November
2014.