Thursday, May 30, 2024

NA discards Judiciary Remuneration Bill 2023

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By: Alieu Jallow

The Judiciary Remuneration Bill which was introduced by Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Dawda Jallow, on Monday, September 4th and put before National Assembly Members (NAMs) on Tuesday, September 12th for consideration and approval, has been rejected by parliament with 18 votes for and 21 against.

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During the plenary session, the majority of the NAMs opposed the bill, with Hon. Almameh Gibba, the National Assembly Member for Foni Kansala, describing it as a threat to The Gambia.

“This bill is a volcano bill to Gambian people. Let’s trash this out and bury it 40 feet down. We don’t have to waste our time on this. We have to be honest,”

Most NAMs submitted their objections to passing this bill, while a few urged for it to be revised and introduced again before the August Assembly. The major points of contention include:

1. A Judicial Officer shall receive a salary, allowances, pension, or gratuity as outlined in the Act’s Regulations, and such payments will be charged to the Consolidated Fund.

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2. The salary, allowances, and benefits of a Judicial Officer cannot be reduced during their tenure.

3. The pension or gratuity of a Judicial Officer cannot be reduced after they have left their position.

The following provisions are included in the bill:

1) While in office, the Chief Justice and judges will be given a fully furnished accommodation with utilities, without any charge or allowance.

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2) The Chief Justice and judges will also receive additional payments for incidental expenses, including telephone and robing allowance.

During the plenary, 21 parliamentarians voted against the bill, while 18 voted for it to be scrutinized and passed. The bill has faced widespread opposition from the public and NAMs, who view it as discriminatory and a threat to democracy.

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