The Janneh Commission of Inquiry Report is not a legal judgement that can be enforced as if it was a court order, the Court of Appeal has ruled. 

The judges said the Janneh Commission  is “not an adjudicatory body” and its report is “not a court judgement”.

The legal challenge has been brought by M.A. Kharafi and Sons Company Limited, a business associate of former President Yahya Jammeh. 

In its report, the Commission recommended that M.A Kharafi and Sons should pay as liabilities to The Gambia government the sum of $2,367,426 plus interest of 5% per annum starting from 30th June 2004 to 29th March 2019.

Delivering their unanimous judgement, 

Justice Omar M.M Njie said: “A Commission of Inquiry does not and legally cannot make a judgment. 

“In other words, a Commission of Inquiry cannot legally render a binding decision which may be executed or enforced as it were a judgment or order.”

Justice Njie added: “the adverse findings and recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry are merely advisory and not conclusive and binding.”

The judges said the government’s White Paper is not a court order but “a written announcement or statement of government policy on a particular issue of public interest.

“A White Paper certainly does not emanate from the Commission of Inquiry and it is, as a result, not part of the report of the Commission. It is not legislative character and it is certainly not a judgment or order of a court of law.”

Justice Njie said the laws of The Gambia “do not provide for the suffering of liabilities by persons against adverse findings as made by the Commission of Inquiry.

“After such findings are made, the Attorney General would have to take the appropriate legal steps, through the law courts, to ensure that such liabilities are suffered by those persons.”

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