The Chief Justice has told magistrates and registrars that if they want to contribute effectively and efficiently to the socio-economic development of the country, they must know the laws of the land and be ready to apply them correctly and uniformly.
Emmanuel O. Fagbenle made these remarks at The Gambia Judiciary Training Institute in Mile 7, Bakau, during the training of magistrates, registrars, and assistant registrars from the Judiciary on the implementation of the Social Security and Housing Finance Cooperation Tribunal. The event was jointly organised by the SSHFC.
‘’The reason why we say things are legal is because they are done legally and according to the law. So, if the verdict or judgments didn’t reflect on the law, then it can be called illegal,’’ he said.
“The Constitution is very clear to those who read it with an unbiased mind and we are supposed to do our jobs as professionals; doing the best we can and getting the best result.”
He said the role of the judiciary in economic development cannot be underplayed; neither can it be understated or overstated. “The amount of money involved in the activities of SSHFC is such that if that money is circulating day in and out it will impact positively in other aspects of the economy.’’
He said the Act which establishes the SSHFC Tribunal was passed in 2015. “As a result of the experience operating the Cooperation and the need to ensure that it fulfills its mandate, the need to have money in its control, the government realised the need to establish special tribunals to look after the welfare and wellbeing of SSHFC,” he affirmed.
CJ Fagbenle described the SSHFC as the largest, most influential and strongest property asset developer in The Gambia. “SSHFC continue to assist the people of The Gambia to access housing at affordable rates on time. Matters dealing with finance, rates and debts and all other incomes of the Cooperation [should] not [be] left in the high court anymore, but in the hands of the special tribunal that can seat, focus and take immediate actions on complaints, grievances and claims laid before the tribunal.”
Edward Graham, the Managing Director of SSHFC, said a lot of things can be proposed but the most important is how to implement and achieve those objectives. The objective of the tribunal, he added is to offset the way people have been manipulated of their payments based on the heavy load on the regular court system.
“Our objective is to get people and institutions to pay their money on time, because the tribunal will be dealing only with our cases; therefore, the time solving the problems will be extremely short compared to what the regular court system was achieving.”
Mr. Graham said what they intend to do is to train as many people as possible, so that at any point in time they will not run sort of people with the required knowledge, citing from a Chinese proverb which says; ‘If you want to invest for tomorrow, you grow rich and if you want to invest for ten years, you grow trees but if you want to invest forever, you educate the people.’
by Omar Wally