Thursday, May 26, 2011

For the records – The North Bank Evening Standard


Gambia Gov’t recognises Libya Rebels 

Friday/April 22, 2011/Media Statement/Banjul/The Gambia/ - The Government of the Republic of The Gambia hereby informs the general public of its recognition in full, of the Transitional National Council of Libya as the only legitimate body that represents the interest and affairs of the people of Libya. Consequently, The Government of The Gambia is with immediate effect, freezing and closing all the assets held in The Gambia by, on behalf of, or in the name of the Government of Colonel Muammar Ghadaffi. They include notably the Laico Hotel (formerly called Atlantic Hotel), Jerma Hotel, and the Dream Park.

In light of this development, all staff of the Libyan Embassy representing the Ghadaffi Government in The Gambia are hereby duly notified to leave The Gambia within 72 hours with effect from Friday 22nd Instant. This move is taken on account of the heinous atrocities that are being carried out by the Ghadaffi regime against innocent citizens, and which have seen to date, massive loss of life and wanton destruction of property in Libya.
It also follows from the Government’s expressed position that was publicly conveyed at the start of the conflict in Libya, calling on Colonel Ghadaffi to step down as the only solution to ending the unrest, and bringing peace, tranquility, and stability in Libya.

Gambia abolishes death penalty for drug-related offences
Today - Gambian lawmakers have voiced their support for the abolition of the death penalty for drug-related offences and approved new amendments, presented before the National Assembly members by Attorney General and minister of Justice, Hon. Edward Gomez. Death sentences for drug-related offences will now be replaced by life imprisonment while stricter fines have also been imposed.
The legislators had in October 2010 approved a law that imposes the death penalty on people convicted of being in possession of cocaine or heroine amounting to or more than 250 grams.
Presenting three bills for amendment on Monday, Justice minister Edward Gomez acknowledged that the amendment of the Drug Control Act in 2010 overlooked Section 18 (2) of The Gambia Constitution of 1997 which stipulates that no court in the country “shall be competent to impose a sentence of death for any offence unless the sentence is prescribed by law and the offence involves violence, or the administration of any toxic substance, resulting in the death of another person.”
The new amendments would now be known as the Drugs Control (Amendment) Act 2011, Trafficking in Person (Amendment) Act 2011 and Criminal Code (Amendment) Act 2011 respectively.
The Attorney General advanced that Section 28(3) of the principal act is amended by substituting the words ‘sentence to death’ for ‘life imprisonment’ with or without corporal punishment, citing that the bill aims at bringing the amendment of the Drugs Control Act 2003 in line with Section (18) of the 1997 constitution. Fines of one million dalasi in different sections of the Drug Control Act 2003 have also now been amended to ten million dalasi and fifty million dalasi respectively.
According to the Justice Minister, it is a global fact that trafficking in drugs has caused widespread chaos in many countries, as drug lords’ battle in control of trafficking routes in South America. Many drug related crimes have also surfaced, and The Gambia must thus act consistently to protect its national interests from the chaos that could result from drug-related businesses.
Voicing his support for the amendment, majority leader and member for Serrekunda East, Hon. Fabakary Tombong Jatta described it as being responsive to the dictates of The Gambia constitution, commending the minister for the hard work that had gone into the amendment.
He further asked all members of the Assembly to back the amendment, noting that the security of The Gambia rests on its ability to combat drug-related businesses.
Also speaking, Hon. Momodou LK Sanneh, minority leader and member for Kiang West supported the amendments on the point that it was brought to toe the line of the constitution, but asked for a little leniency in the sentences prescribed.
Other contributors also voiced their support for the amendments. The legislators went ahead to ratify them.
Court Orders Gov't to Take Possession of Libyan Assets in the Country
Daily Observer - Justice Awa Bah of the High Court in Banjul has ordered that the government of The Gambia take immediate possession and full control of the properties, assets and interests of the Libya African Investment Company (Gambia) Limited, 'until a government recognised by the United Nations is in place in Libya'. Though the said assets were not mentioned in court, but among Libyan assets in The Gambia include; Jerma Beach Hotel and Dream Park in kololi and Laico Atlantic Hotel in Banjul.
Justice Awa Bah made this order following the court hearing of an exparte motion filed by the Attorney General of the Republic of The Gambia, represented by the DPP, Mikailu Abdullahi, before the said Court. The exparte motion dated the 27th of April 2011 was brought before the said court pursuant to Section 22(1) (b) of the Constitution of the Republic of The Gambia 1997. The state in its motion, seeks among other things, four reliefs from the said High Court.
The State filed an 11-paragraph affidavit in support of the application and an attachment of the Amended Memorandum and Articles of Association of the Libyan African Investment Company (Gambia) Limited (LAICO). Justice Awa Bah in her ruling declared that it would be in the interest of the Libyan people that the said application is granted. She pointed out that the said exercise of discretion is supported by the provisions of Section 22(1) (b) of the Constitution of The Gambia, 1997.
Justice Bah disclosed that the court is convinced that the Libyan African Investment Company (Gambia) Limited is a creation of the Muammar Ghadafi-led government, noting that there is an urgent need to put in place interim measures to safeguard the assets and properties of the said company situated in The Gambia for the interest and benefit of the Libyan people.

The presiding judge therefore revealed that the government of The Gambia by virtue of the said Section 22 (1) (b) of the 1997 Constitution is vested with such powers to safeguard the assets and properties of the said company in The Gambia. Justice Awa Bah consequently ordered that the possession and full control of the properties, assets and interests of the Libya African Investment Company (Gambia) Limited be immediately vested in The Gambia Government until a government recognised by the United Nations is in place in Libya.
The presiding judge further ordered that the management and administration of the Libyan African Investment Company (Gambia) Limited be vested in the hands and full control of The Gambia Government until a government recognised by the United Nations is in place in Libya. Justice Awa Bah also ordered the Government of the Republic of The Gambia to manage the said assets for the benefit of the people of Libya until a government recognised by the United Nations is in place in Libya, adding that the said orders are made in the interim pending the filing of an application on notice.

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