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HomeBreaking NewsGAMBIA: LEGISLATION REGARDING JUDICIAL OFFICERS REMUNERATION REJECTED

GAMBIA: LEGISLATION REGARDING JUDICIAL OFFICERS REMUNERATION REJECTED

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Yesterday, members of the National Assembly voted 21 to 18 to reject the controversial judicial officers remuneration bill.

The government introduced a measure to increase the salaries, benefits, and pensions of judicial officers last week. It also attempts to regulate the employment conditions of judges of the superior court and members of the judiciary.

The bill, which was introduced yesterday for a second reading, sparked public debate and outrage, with many commentators claiming that “after the executive and the legislature, it is now the judiciary’s turn to rob Gambians of their hard-earned tax money.”

Minister Jallow stated yesterday, when moving for the bill’s second reading, that the bill was introduced in accordance with Section 142 of the 1997 Constitution, which states that a judge of a superior court shall be entitled to such salary, allowances, and, upon retirement, gratuity and pension as may be prescribed by an Act of the National Assembly.

“This is similar to that of the National Assembly, which is provided for in Section 95, which states that remuneration and allowances of National Assembly Members, the Speaker, deputy Speaker, and other members of the Assembly shall receive remuneration and benefits, including retirement benefits, as a National Assembly Act. “Therefore, Mr. Speaker, when the constitution was adopted in 1997, the Assembly passed the Act to establish their employment conditions,” he explained.

He stated that, unlike the legislature and executive, the judiciary does not have its own Act of National Assembly.

“Therefore, the judiciary is the only branch of government not governed by a statute,” he explained.

“The judiciary plays a crucial role in administering justice and upholding the rule of law, and is a key player in the realms of democracy and constitutional development,” he said.

The importance of the judiciary as one of the three pillars of state institutions, according to him, necessitated the passage of this measure.

Response of NAMs

Responding to the bill, the National Assembly Member for Banjul North, Lamin Bah, tensely said, “I am not going to endorse this bill. “The end”

Initially, a handful of National Assembly Members (NAMs) requested that the bill be referred to a committee for additional scrutiny. However, the NAM for Foni Bintang, Bakary K. Badjie, stated that referring the bill to a committee implies that “we intend to pass it.”

We are unable to accept this transaction. We are here to protect the interests of each and every Gambian. How many times have I stood here and bemoaned the low salaries of teachers? What action has been taken? The National Assembly cannot be defrauded by fraudsters. Who said a retired judge could not work? One can either be a cultivator or a marine. If you are talking about a democratic nation, we are talking about a country that defends the interests of its people,” he said.

Gibbi Jallow, NAM representative for Lower Fulladu West, termed the bill an economic triumph.

This bill should expire here because it is not in the best interests of the nation or the people. He argued that these individuals (judges) are not superior to the teachers and other Gambians who earn modest salaries in other sectors. At the conclusion of last night’s session, 21 NAMs voted against the bill, compared to 18 who supported it.

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