By Mustapha Ceesay
Gambia’s onetime Minister for Justice, Lamin Jobarteh has expressed regret serving as Justice Minister under former President Jammeh.
He said Jammeh didn’t give him the opportunity to discuss the appointment with his family, as he requested.
“Certainly, because when he [Jammeh] gave me appointment letter in his office, I told him to give me an opportunity to discuss with my family. And that Monday, I will bring back my letter as to the issue of acceptance. Little did I know that it will be on the news at 6 pm, and it did come up.”
He made this disclosure on Thursday at the truth commission during question and answer session between him and the commissioners.
The former judge continued that gazetting of his appointment on Jammeh’s order, before he could discussed with his family, gave him a sleepless night due to his previous experience in the service.
“That night, I could not sleep, because of the ordeals I went through, when I was in the service- fired one day, reinstated the next day.”
Further responding to questions, the witness who is also called Babadinding also regretted leaving his position as a judge or private practitioner for the ministerial role. He said his remunerations as a private lawyer was “5, 10 times higher” than that of Justice Minister.
Witness Jobarteh sadly rated his ministerial tenure as “very strenuous, very difficult”, while responding to a commissioner’s question on how he would rate his tenure as minister.
Lawyer Lamin Jobarteh also called Babadinding Jobarteh was onetime the Minister of Justice under former president Yahya Jammeh. He also served as a judge for the same government. But he was adversely mentioned at the Truth Reconciliation and Reparations Commission which led to his invitation as a witness. However, Jobarteh emphatically denied many of the torture allegations against him.