The supreme court of the Gambia ruled on Tuesday that the National Assembly violated the Constitution when it amended the 2021 budget bill and allocated a loan of D54.4m to parliamentarians and staff of the National Assembly.
The Supreme Court also declared “null and void” the parliamentarians’ self-appropriated loan scheme and stroke it out from the 2021 appropriated national Budget.
The Supreme Court’s ruling results from a civil suit filed by civil society organizations like “Gambia Participates” led by Marr Nyang and the “Centre for Research and Policy Development” led by Sai Matty Jaw, supported by lawyers and Civil Society activists like Salieu Taal and Madi Jobarteh.
The civil suit summoned the clerk of the National Assembly as1st Defendant, the Auditor General second defendant, the Ministry of Finance and Economic affairs 3rd defendant, and the Attorney general as the 4th defendant, respectively.
The plaintiffs sought, and have now obtained that the Supreme Court issues a declaration that the amendment done by the National Assembly by including a budget line item of D54.4 million is in contravention of sections 151,152 and 155 of the Constitution and a violation of section 47 of the public finance act, 2014.
The Civil society organizations also obtained from the Supreme Court that the inclusion of the sum of D54.4 million as a loan for National Assembly Members and its staff in the 2021 budget is “a usurpation of the Parliament’s powers” and “a violation of the National Assembly standing orders.”
This Tuesday’s ruling is also a victory for the Civil society organizations in their quest to stop the auditor general from granting any approval for the withdrawal of the sum of D54.4 million or any part of it by national assembly or National Assembly service.