By Nicholas Bass
Justice Sherriff B. Tabally of the Brikama High Court on Tuesday 7th November 2022 issued a ruling for a stay of the proceedings of the ongoing suit filed against Salifu Sanyang at the Kombo South District Tribunal in Gunjur pending the hearing and final determination of the suit filed at the High Court of the Gambia on the 28th July 2022 against Kebba Jabang, Falalo Touray, the Chief of Kombo South and Dembo Jabang.
According to paragraph four of the affidavit of Counsel Mai Ahamad Fatty, the applicant pleaded for a stay of the proceedings, pending the hearing and final of the proceedings filed against Kebba Jabang, Falalo Touray, and Dembo Jabang at the High Court and which was denied by the said District Tribunal and the said requesting is hereby attached as Exhibit SS-A.
Justice Sherriff B. Tabally during the ruling said that the respondents were served with the application but they failed to file any process in writing to the instant application. He went on to say that Kebba Jabang and Joakim Jatta, the District scribe admitted and confirmed the averments contained in the affidavit deposed by the applicant as the basis of this application.
“I have carefully considered the process filed, together with the submissions of learned counsel Mai A. Fatty for the applicant and I have observed the issues and facts that formed the basis of the instant application.
“In the determination of this application, this court will only be disposed to exercise its discretion in favor of granting the application if the applicants are able to establish, on well-founded grounds, that the proceedings ought not to proceed.
In the plethora of authorities, the principles upon which an application for stay of proceedings could be granted have been considered and settled” Justice S.B. Tabally noted.
He further stated that it is clear from the facts which were denied by the respondents that the jurisdiction of the Tribunal has challenged to hear the suit against Applicant. He added by saying it is well settled that the issue of jurisdiction is fundamental to the competency of a suit; Antoine Banna versus Ocean View Resort Limited.
Therefore, when the competence of the Tribunal’s jurisdiction to hear and determine the suit in question was raised, it should be paused to settle that issue before proceeding; Gambia for self-help employment and Multi-purpose Cooperative Society Limited versus Access Bank, the Gambia Limited SC010/20217.
“The issue of jurisdiction is fundamental and crucial one and where it forms the basis of an appeal upon which a stay of proceedings hinges, as the instant case, there is an irresistible temptation to grant the order.
“Accordingly, I hereby order a stay of the proceedings of the ongoing suit against Salifu Sanyang, the applicant at Kombo South District Tribunal in Gunjur pending hearing and final determination of the suit number HC/576/22/MF/f1 filed at the High Court of The Gambia on the 28th July 2022 against the Kebba Jabang, Falalo Touray, and Dembo Jabang by Salifu Sanyang”, Justice Sherriff B. Tabally ruled. The case was adjourned to the 21 and 23rd of November 2022 for a hearing.