By Halimatou Ceesay
The High Court of The Gambia, presided over by Justice Buba Jallow, on Thursday 14th December, 2017 rejected an oral application from Counsel C.E Mene to release Sedia Bayo’s passport to him and asked him to make the application formally.
When the case was called for mention, Counsel Mene said he is conditionally appearing for Sedia Bayo as the second defendant in the debtor’s judgement summons. He said he is just coming into the case. He said the only document served on the judgement debtor is the letter of summons and that that is the only document he has.
Counsel Mene said he received an order of the court served on Bayo on the security of the judgment debtor on bail with two sureties and two title deeds and the sureties entering into a cognizant of D1, 709, 522.46.
“According to the order my client is required to bring his bank statements. We have the bank statements here in the Gambia and my lord with regards to the Bank statement in Paris, France where he lives he cannot have access to that from here and he will have to apply for that when he travels to France,” he said.
Mene stated that Bayo travels often between the Gambia and France and that fact was acknowledged between him and the plaintiffs. He said Bayo travel because the 2nd defendant works in collaboration with the office of the president to bring investors into the country. He said his client was arrested whilst he was traveling to France to bring another set of investors into the country.
He added that since Bayo has fully secured the amount claimed (D1, 709, 522.46) there is no need for the court to retain his passport. He said the idea of security is to ensure that the judgment debtor is satisfied. He said the two properties alone far exceed the amount claimed so the claim is fully secured. He said the idea is not to turn his client to a destitute but is meant to secure the amount claimed which is done.
He then asked the court to release his client’s passport to him so that he could travel to France and bring the required documents for the hearing to proceed.
Counsel Aziz Bensouda said if counsel is making an application for the passport to be released he should have done that in two minutes and not take 1 hour for that. He said he is not objecting to the release of Bayo’s passport since the judgement debtor is satisfied and he is leaving it at the discretion of the court but he objects for the case to be adjourned, saying that Bayo should tender the bank statement he came with to court.
In his ruling Justice Buba Jallow rejected Mene’s oral application to release Bayo’s passport and asked him to come with formal application before the court. In adjourning the case, the judge said it is in the best interest of justice to adjourn the case to enable Mene familiarize himself with what has transpired before.
The case was then adjourned to 23rd January, 2018 at 12pm.