COMMISSIONS OF INQUIRY

Commission of inquiry Article 200
(1) The President may, whenever he or she deems it advisable, issue a Commission appointing one or more Commissioners authorising such Commissioners to inquire into-
  1. the conduct of any public officer;
  2. the conduct of any District Chief or Alkalo;
  3. the conduct or management of any department or authority of the public service or any local government authority or public enterprise; or
  4. any matter whatever arising in The Gambia in which an inquiry would the opinion of the President, be for the public good.
(2 ) The National Assembly may request the President to establish a commission of Inquiry for any of the purposes set out in subsection (1).
(3) Except as may be ordered by the presiding Commissioner in the interest of public morality, public safety or public order, the proceedings of a Commission of Inquiry shall be held in public: Provided that the presiding Commissioner shall be entitled to exclude any particular person or persons for the preservation of order.  

Presiding Commissioner Article. 201
(1) A person shall not be appointed a sole Commissioner or the Chairmen of a Commission of Inquiry unless –
  1. he or she is, or has been, a judge of a superior court, whether in The Gambia or outside it; or
  2. he or she is qualified to be appointed a judge of a superior court.
(2) Where a Commission of Inquiry consists of more than two members, at least one Commissioner shall be a person who has special qualifications or knowledge in the field of the matter under investigation.  

Functions and powers of  Commission Article 202
(1) A Commission of Inquiry shall –
  1. make a full and impartial investigation into the matter in respect of which the Commission is established: and  
  2. furnish in writing a report on the results of the inquiry, including a statement of the reasons leading to the conclusions of the Commission.
(2) A Commission of Inquiry shall have all the  powers, rights and privileges of a judge of the High Court at a trial in respect of –
  1. enforcing the attendance of witnesses and examining them on oath, affirmation or otherwise:
  2. compelling the production of documents:
  3. issuing a commission or request for the examination of witnesses abroad, and
  4. making interim orders.
(3) A Commissioner appointed under section 200 shall not be liable to any action or suit in respect of any matter or thing bona fide done or omitted to be done in the performance of his or her functions as a Commissioner.  

Publication of report Article. 203
On receipt of the report of a commission of Inquiry –
(a) the President shall within six months publish the report and his or her comments on the report, together with a statement of any action taken, or the reason for not taking any action, thereon; or
(b) where the President refuses to publish the report for reasons of national security or otherwise in the public interest, he or she shall, within six months, publish a statement to that effect.  

Adverse findings Article. 204
(1) Where a Commission of Inquiry makes an adverse finding against any person, it shall, at the time of submitting its report to the President, inform such persons of the finding and the reasons therefore.
(2) A person against whom any such adverse finding has been made may appeal against such finding to the Court of Appeal as of right as if the finding were a judgment of the High Court, and on the hearing of the appeal the report shall be treated as if it were such a judgment
(3) An appeal under this section shall be made within three months of the appellant being informed of the adverse finding as provided by subsection (1) or such later time as the Court of Appeal may allow.  

Immunities of witnesses Article. 205.
A witness before a Commission of Inquiry shall be entitled to the same immunities and privileges as if he or she were witness in proceedings before the High Court.  

National Assembly to make further provision  Article. 206.
An Act of the National Assembly may make further provision for the purposes of this chapter, and subject to any such Act, the power conferred by any law to make rules of court for the superior court shall deemed to include power to make rules regulating the procedure and practice of all Commissions of Inquiry.  

Freedom and responsibility Of the media  Article. 207.
(1) The freedom and independence of the press and other information media are hereby guaranteed.
(2) An Act of the National assembly may make provisions for the establishment and operation of the press and other information media.
(3) The press and other information media shall at all times, be free to uphold the principles, provisions and objectives of this Constitution, and the responsibility and accountability of the Government to the people of The Gambia.  

Responsibility of State owned media  Article. 208.
All state owned newspapers, journals, radio and  television shall afford fair opportunities and facilities for the presentation of divergent views and dissenting opinion.  

Limitations on rights and freedoms Article. 209.
The provisions of sections 207 and 208 are subject to laws which are reasonably required in a democratic society in the interest of national security, public order, public morality and for the purpose of protecting the reputations, rights and freedoms of others.  

National Media Commission Article. 210.
An Act of the National assembly shall within one year of the coming into force of this Constitution make provision for the establishment of a National Media Commission to establish a code of conduct for the media of mass communication and information and to endure the impartiality, independence and professionalism of the media which is necessary in a democratic society.