The Registrar of Companies at the Attorney General Chambers in Banjul has been suspended from work without pay, Freedom Newspaper can reveal. The suspension of Lamin Touray, a senior official of the Justice Department, follows his alleged refusal to execute an order from his superiors: Justice Minister Abubacarr Tambadou, and Solicitor General Cherno Marena respectively. Touray was instructed by his bosses at the AG Chambers to act on a matter that is currently before the courts, but he refused. Details of the case in question is not yet to be disclosed.
A source, who reached on Monday, claimed that Touray had serious work-related dispute issues with Baa Tambadou and Cherno Marena. The caller said Touray had been suspended for five months without salary, following his refusal to execute an order to intervene in an ongoing matter before the courts.
The caller also added that Touray is married and blessed with kids and has no house of his own. He is currently renting, and his suspension will likely cause economic hardship to his family. The caller wanted us to investigate Touray’s suspension.
Contacted for comment, Justice Minister Tambadou confirmed the story. He said Lamin Touray, has indeed been suspended for one month without pay and not five months to the best of his recollection. I think he was suspended for one month without salary, Tambadou remarked.
Tambadou said despite repeated calls for Touray to execute his instructions, the Registrar of Companies refused. His case was subsequently forwarded to the Public Service Commission and the Personnel Management Office (PMO) for further actions to be taken.
“It is true. We gave him an instruction to act on a particular matter, but he refused to carry out the instructions. We brought the matter to the attention of the Public Service Commission and the Personnel Management Office (PMO),” Tambadou said.
Mr. Tambadou wouldn’t disclose the nature of the case in question. He said other parties are involved in the matter and as such he couldn’t comment further.
“It is an internal matter about a case that is ongoing in court. I cannot talk a lot about that case. The case is ongoing. We gave him clear instructions and what he should do, and he refused to do that. Ultimately, the responsibility for any action taken at the Ministry is in line; as Solicitor General and he acts on instructions and he refused to carryout those instructions; unreasonably I have to say. We called him in, and we had a chat with him. We wanted to know why he wouldn’t; he gave us his views and we say that’s fine. Th is is a law office and people have different views, but ultimately you supposed to carry out instructions. He still wouldn’t take instructions,” Tambadou added.
Below is a Q and A we had with Minister Tambadou.
What were the instructions given to Lamin Touray?
As I said, this is an ongoing case. I cannot say more than what I had given you right now, but it is about a case that is ongoing. We took a position that reflected the appropriate decision under the circumstances in that case and we gave instructions and he refused.
We asked him to take a particular cause of action on the matter and he refused, and he wouldn’t do it.
In your opinion, why is he refusing to execute your orders? Why is he refusing?
I have no idea why. It is unfortunate. It is a clear case of insubordination. Despite his refusal, I call him in to a meeting with the SG. We had a chat. I wanted to know. He explained his situation and I said that is fine. But ultimately the responsibility lies with me. I will take responsibility for his actions. He didn’t do as he was told; and he refused still.
When is he coming back to work?
I have no idea. I am just coming back from travel now. I haven’t been to the office yet.
I was told that he was transferred to another division within your Ministry. Is that true?
Well yes. Initially, we requested for him to be moved from the Companies Division to the Criminal Division of the Ministry. Initially that is what they requested for.
And what was his response?
He still refused to comply with us. You know, here in The Gambia, our new-found democracy is getting out hand. People think they can do whatever they want to do in the name of democracy. It is getting out of hand. He still refused to comply.
Government Departments like any organization works through a hierarchy. And it is the ultimate responsibility of those at the top of that hierarchy to take decisions based on their own judgement; also, to implement policies. Imagine if everybody decides independently of their own; not to take instructions or not to act on the instructions of their superiors; what are we going to have? Chaos. How are we going to make sure things work?
We requested him to move, he refused. You expect us to let things go as they are? Then nothing will work here.