Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Woman’s Short Joy and Long Suffering

Jongsaba was a widow who lost her husband eight years ago. She lived in a dilapidated house with her children.
Jongsaba as a woman and a mother had lived a joyous life with her husband before his untimely death. She later fell into the hands of his womanizer boss who was just interested in abusing her and left her to die a sympathetic death. Many a woman has died a similar death. Musoolula Bantaba narrates Jongsaba’s story.
Jongsaba has been a pride of her family when she got married to Baluta, a construction consultant who worked with an engineering company, immediately after the completion of her senior secondary school.
Her husband’s talent had saved the engineering company a fortune during his seven years of service. The young consultant enjoyed life with his wife. He always felt proud of her among her peers. He found Jongsaba as a virgin when they got married. This earned Jongsaba respect both in her family and that of Baluta.
No sooner was her husband elevated to the position of chief consultant than his services were terminated. Neighbours, relatives and friends attributed it to superstition.
As Baluta remained jobless, Jongsaba convinced him to move from the flat they were living to a less expensive house. They searched for a house, but the only house they could afford was a dilapidated house, where they moved to settle with their three children.
“Things started to tumble down only when my husband was making enough money and progressing professionally”, cried Jongsaba.
A year later, Baluta felt severely sick. When he visited the hospital, stroke was diagnosed. In a short while he died as a result.
“I am shocked by my darling’s death, the bringing up of my children is my biggest headache now. I feel as if my blood is draining out of me”, said the widow, screaming at the top of her voice.
She always looked at her children and shed tears. She decided to stay at home to mourn the death of Baluta for forty days as prescribed by tradition, before she could find any job.
After the forty days, she visited Baluta’s colleagues at the company to enquire whether he had any money there or an account elsewhere, only to realize that there were none. She then depended on the charity money given to her from sympathizers for the upkeep of her children in the meantime. She continued to manage with her children in their dilapidated house.
“With all what I enjoyed with my husband, we have no home of our own or an account that the family can depend on for survival. My children have nothing to inherit from their father in terms of wealth. This means that we were spending all what Baluta was earning. This is more than an incident”, she said to herself.
With the assistance of a former class mate, Jongsaba picked up a job at a petrol station in Kanifing. She started to pay the children’s school fees, rent and provide feeding from her meager salary.
She was unfortunate to meet a boss who was a womanizer that takes advantage of women’s situations. When he knew Jongsaba’s condition, he promised to move her to a new flat and pay the rent. The poor isolated widow accepted her boss’s proposal.
She has been feeling worthless, but persuaded by her boss to trust their relationship as she was promised that money was not going to be her problem.
The boss always spent most of her weekends with Jongsaba at the new rented flat.
Her best friend and former class mate who facilitated her getting a job visited her. When she realized that Jongsaba was in love with the womanizer, she gave her a good sisterly advice to be content with what she had. “This man will play with you like a toy and throw you away. Jongsaba you were proud and praised. You were married as a virgin. Do not allow your condition to be taken for granted by such men. If you continue struggling, one good gentleman would soon come across you by the grace of Allah”, her former class mate told her.
My friend, Jongsaba said, “You have told me a stark truth. But this new life of mine is just going to be a temporary one. If you have nothing people treat you as nothing”, she shyly responded.
But she could not change. She was thinking that the man would salvage her from her present situation.
Few months later, Jongsaba became pregnant and was given a leave by his boss. She was the talk of town in the neighbourhood. In a short while, she gave birth to bouncing twin baby boys.
When this news hit her employer, he gave a draconian warning to all his employees that if they mention Jongsaba and his issue they would lose their jobs. He went to Jongsaba and told her to continue with her indefinite leave.
As the matter became a scandal, Jongsaba’s boss left for the UK where his family is staying. He left Jongsaba without a job, with no means of survival and no one to help.
She could not explain this to anybody.
When the Imam in her area knew that she was suffering, he told his wives to be giving her food.
Jongsaba was so desperate that she had to join the ranks of sex workers. She started roaming between brothels for survival.
She became briefly ill and subsequently died.
Her children continued to suffer. They are now taken to an orphanage by an Afro-American philanthropist.
How many women are dying this way leaving their children in the worst situation a human being can face on the face of this earth?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Four Sittings, No Yusuf! Where is He?

Yusuf Ezzedeen’s unexplained absence in court for four sittings could be said to have add details to unconfirmed reports that the Lebanese Gambian is out of the jurisdiction.
Ezzedeen, a businessman, alongside the former chief of defense staff Lt Gen. Lang Tombong Tamba and six others, including top security officers, a businessman, and a Gambian diplomat were sentenced to death July 15 of last year for treason.
They have been found guilty of attempting to overthrow the incumbent government, despite denying the allegations.
Seven of the convicts have collectively appealed against the sentence, except for Yusuf Ezzedeen who appealed separately.
When the case was called Friday, the chair of Appeal Court asked why the accused was not in court but neither the prosecutor nor defense lawyer responded.
For the past one month, his appeal trial has stalled because Yusuf has not been coming to court. During the previous proceeding, a prisons officer was asked about the whereabout of Yusuf, but he refused to comment “for security reasons.”
Neither the state prosecutor nor Yusuf’s lawyer could explain to the court his whereabouts. And the three-member panel of appeal court judges has been accepting request for adjournment.
 The case has been adjourned again to Wednesday January 26, 2011.
In a related but separate development, the leading defense counsel in the in appeal of the Lang Tombong and Co Friday disclosed to the panel of judges at the Court of Appeal in Banjul that they have more additional grounds of appeal to submit.
Lawyer Pap Cheyassin Secka further told the panel of  judges that he has already discussed it with the Director of Special Litigation D.O Kolu, who is representing the state.
The state counsel admitted it.
Secka urged the court to adjourn the case for two weeks to enable the defense team to better prepare.
It could be recalled that the appeal of the Ex-CDS and six others could not be heard on the last sitting date because the lead defense Pap Cheyassin Secka said the records where not ready and they have no access to it.
Lang Tombong Tamba and Co have appealed  against the death sentence slapped on them by High Court Judge Emmanuel Amadi in July 2010, after found guilty of attempting to overthrow the government of the Gambia in 2009.
The rest of the appellant are Ex-Deputy of chief of Defense staff Omar Bun Mbaye, Ex-NIA BOSS Lamin BO Badjie, Ex-top Officer Lt Col. Kawsu Camara, Ex-deputy police chief, Modou Gaye, a business tycoon Abdoulie Joof, a Gambian diplomat,  Gibril Ngorr Secka

‘Gambian Women Have a Long Way To Go’

Despite the relatively enormous strides, Gambian women still have a long way to go, especially in the area of awareness in accessing funds, the Executive Director of Women’s Bureau, Madam Ida Faye Hydara has said.
“Women complain of high interest rates. We should try to advocate and sensitise them on that for them to understand the policies behind interest rates,” she said while delivering a key note address at the official launch of GAWFA Finance Company Limited last week Wednesday.
 According to Madam Hydara, lack of awareness is one of the major challenges hindering the advancement of Gambian women.
In this regard, she said, women are unable to exploit the benefit of micro-finance, which is capable of positively changing their economic status within a short period of time.
 She pointed at the need for capacity building of The Gambia’s womenfolk as a foremost solution to women’s economic problem. “Women are just as good as men if given the same opportunity to access funds,” she said.
Nonetheless, with the establishment of the women oriented micro-finance institution, GAWFA Finance Company Limited, women will have the opportunity to change their lives,” Oli Njie-Mbye, chief executive officer (CEO) of GAWFA has assured.
She said her company will provide a safety net for the poor, as well as empowering women at the socio-economic level.
“We have long-term goals, and are more committed to making positive changes in our lives progressively. We have effective leadership skills in managing scarce resources and can start something small and make it big for better economic conditions,” she said.
Jane Clement, secretary of GAWFA Board, said the concept of GAWFA is to help mainstream women, especially those in the formal sector to participate actively in the socio-economic development of the country. She recalled that GAWFA, which started with ten women, can now boast of more than forty thousand clients nationwide.
Hanna Davis, chairperson of the GAWFA Board, revealed that her organization, which was set up in 1987, is the leading and largest micro-finance institution in the country and has more than 48, 948 members delivering financial and non-financial services to its clients, including capacity building.
According to Madam Davies, GAWFA’s mission is to serve as a financial institution to enhance the entrepreneurial development of women to alleviate poverty. Lamin Dibba, director of NGO Affairs Agency, said that a micro-finance institution is recognised as an effective tool to fight poverty by providing financial services to those who do not have access to or are neglected by the commercial banks and financial institutions. According to him, the UN has given prominence to micro-finance by declaring the period 1997 to 2006 as the first United Nations decade for the eradication of poverty by the international community. “It was in this context that in 1998, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 2005 as the international year of micro-credit to recognise its contribution to poverty alleviation,” he informed.
He said that since the inception of GAWFA, it has been offering important financial and non-financial services to its clients, 96.2 per cent of whom are women. “This is a clear indication of the concern you have to empower this critical mass of our population who work around the clock to earn a decent living,” he said. Siaka Bah, a representative from the Central Bank of The Gambia, said in many developing countries, small-scale enterprises and micro enterprises face severe financing constraints, though with access to finance, they can participate fully in the economic life of their communities, create employment and realise their full potentials. “The design and delivery of financial services to vast numbers of poor, medium and low income people who do not have access depends on innovations, investments, cost reduction through improved efficiencies and effective use of technology, and an appropriate regulation and supervision,” he said.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Women Lament Daily Commodities Price Hike

Despite complaints from buyers regarding higher offer levels, the price of goods continue to increase day by day. The women who work as street vendors and consumers are directly bearing the pinch.
Almost all women, including those engaged in white collar jobs living in big households will be vulnerable despite earning wages; because their earnings could not enable them afford the daily commodities in the market for the survival of their families Musoolula Bantabaa (women’s forum) put it.
Some women at the Serrekunda Market have raised concern over the skyrocketing prices of commodities, thus making life difficult for the poor low income earners.
“Women are the worst affected when food prices go up. We have to bear additional burdens for our families, we end up making huge sacrifices, such as being the last to eat in a family or at tomes faced with inadequate food at home due to high prices of food stuffs at the market”, Kaddy Sabally, a vendor at Latrikunda market told Musoolula Bantabaa.
easing concerned about the rise in the cost of living. She said the cost of one meal with rice has almost doubled in some places.
“I spent most of my profit gained from my business on my family as my contribution to the fish money that my husband gives me. Things are becoming worse day by day. Everything is expensive, especially oil and onion, which are the main ingredients we use in our cooking”, she added.
A vendor who spoke to Musolula Bantaba on condition of anonymity said food prices in the market have become a great concern for her and most Gambian women. She lamented that the price of daily commodities are increasing at an alarm rate and has threatened both women vendors and consumers alike.
“Selling at high prices is difficult in all situations, yet, as unpleasant as it can be, it is often necessary so as to realize profit. The customers are coming from with different perspectives, despite the situation. In times like this, it is imperative for the salesperson to understand regardless of how the market or economy is faring. The sales of commodities depend on the demand. Even vendors who are accused of hoarding prices, need some other expensive good to buy”, another vendor intervened.
For Mba Jammeh, also a vendor, said, a customer does not reject a price on the basis of increment, unless the deal can be saved by offering some kind of discount. “If they approach the market with this strategy, they are always at the mercy of failure, because a customer will never pay more than a salesperson tells them to”.
“Selling a price in a booming market requires diligence and patience to keep the discussion focused on the benefits that the customer is looking for, from both the product and from you. It is not our fault that the prices are high”, another vendor said.
Mariama Jallow, a consumer, told Musoolula Bantaba that with increasing prices of rice, oil and other food stuffs, men should consider adjusting the fish money they give to their wives. “The price of sugar is the worst now and 95 percent of households use sugar in preparing breakfast and sometimes evening meals”, she said.

Moses Richards Case in Limbo

The state was expected to proceed with the matter of Moses Richards or withdraw the charges of false information and sedition charges  against him last Monday but only ended up to be adjourned by then  Magistrate Emmanuel Nkea of the Banjul Magistrate’s Court who is now promoted as a judge . 
According to the deputy director of Special Litigation Simon Abi, the state is yet to receive directives whether to drop the charges or proceed with the matter.
Richards, a former High Court Judge, now private lawyer, is facing two criminal charges – giving false information and sedition - at Banjul Magistrates’ Court.
He is alleged to have lied to the Sheriff of The Gambia that the president of the republic ordered a stay of execution of a writ of possession in a civil suit; thus gave false information to a public servant and brought contempt into the person of the president of the republic.
“There is nothing wrong with the Attorney General’s Chambers in withdrawing the charges,” Surahata Janneh said, adding that it is unfair to the Bar for the state to give justification.  We are here with absolute dignity,” he said.
The state counsel who seemed surprised by the defense opposing his application said there is no reason for the defense to refute the application, hence the Bar is demanding for the charges to be dropped.
The presiding magistrate, however, adjourned the case till January 31 for the state to put its house in order.
Richards however denied any wrong doing.
Trial continues on Monday

Public Condemns Closure of Taranga FM

Right to information should not be suppressed,” is the view of many people who spoke to The Daily News, denouncing the temporal closure of Taranga FM, a privately-owned community radio station in Sinchu Alagie.
In what is highly suspected to be an order from the National Intelligence Agency, Taranga FM, has temporarily closed-down operations last Thursday. 
For five solid days, people who tune to Taranga for news have been living in the dark.
According to one Lamin Sarr a local businessman, Taranga is the only private radio station that broadcast local news both in English and local languages. He said Taranga is a vital tunnel of information that most of the uneducated people rely on for information.
“The news they air is factual and is reliable. The right to information should not be stifled. They are not criminals, but informers and we all have the right to know what is going on in this country as responsible citizens,” he said.
“Taranga FM has never criticized the government or involved in any political activities. They read news published in the local newspapers and they quote their source clearly. So why not the newspapers”, Omar Ndow, a carpenter told The Daily News. 
For Almamy Jagana who is also a businessman residing in Dippa kunda, The Gambia is sinking in terms of press freedom and the right to information. “We are sinking deeper because the authorities are trying to muzzle people’s right to information. The coming of Taranga FM, broadcasting in the local languages was a great move and people in the Kombos really appreciate it, because not everyone can read or have access to the newspapers. The authorities should prioritize the interest of its people and resurrect the station as soon as possible”.
“I’m surprise that the authorities had to [allegedly] close down the radio’s transmission after all the numerous broadcasts that speak positive of government.  I really condemn the temporary closure. An illiterate person like me can only know what is happening through the electronic media, which Taranga FM has been doing for the past few months. Infact they are the only private radio that airs news in local languages,” said Jagana
He went on: “Though I notice one thing recently, the radio tends to make positive focus more on the government activities-president Jammeh and his ruling party which is the only fault I observed”.
However, he said, the radio failed to broadcast on the opposition activities. I think they are bias because their stories are always one sided nowadays. The voice of the opposition should also be heard for balance hearing. In the past few weeks, I saw the opposition pictures in most of the private newspapers but the radio failed to report on it and still I don’t know what all was about, because I cannot read”.
According to Mohammed Jallow, a shopkeeper it is not a surprise to him that the radio station is shut. The temporary closure of a radio station, which the public benefits from is just ignorant. It seems we are going backward in terms of right to information”
Maimuna Drammeh of London Corner there is no reason for closing the radio as they only read from the local newspapers, if there are any body to suffer it should have been the papers and not the radio. She called for the immediate re-opening of the radio. It is the responsibility of the state to enlighten people, so Taranga is only supplementing.
Modou Bojang a native of Bakau, asked that people be told why Taranga is closed as no reasons are advance so far. The state owes it to the people to explain why. The society should not suffer for nothing. Gambians have suffered enough after the closure of Citizen FM.
Meanwhile, Mr Ismaila Sisay, the proprietor of the radio is unavailable for comments at the time of going to press. However, a reliable source said Mr Sisay yesterday spent a couple of hours at NIA headquarters in Banjul for questioning.
In this media-freedom restricted country, Taranga is the only private radio station that broadcast local news – both in English and local languages - to its audience, something the public seemingly appreciate.
The radio’s regular news programme of reading news published in the local newspapers has attracted growing interest from the public as it serve as the alternative source of news to the state-owned radio, especially for The Gambia’s majority conventionally unlettered people.
Since Taranga started the news programme couple of months ago, there was mounting speculation about the authorities unhappiness about the programme. Its closure may not come as a surprise to many; for Citizen FM that undertook similar programme has been closed-down.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

IS Treason Convict Yusuf Ezzedeen In Town?

A rare silence struck the Court of Appeal on Friday as Yusuf Ezzedeen, a treason convict was nowhere to be found for the court to proceed with his appeal trial and the prison officer could not explain where he was.
Yusuf, a Lebanese resident in The Gambia has been sentenced to death for treason last year July, alongside former defense chief, Lang Tombong Tamba and others.
He has separately appealed against his sentence. When his case was set to proceed Friday at the Court of Appeal in Banjul, he was nowhere to be found.
And when the chairperson of the three-member panel of Judges enquired from a prisoner officer who was in court about his whereabouts, the prison officer replied, “due to some security reasons I don’t think I will disclose that.”
Neither the State nor the Defense Counsels made any comment on the absence of “Rambo.”
Ezzedeen’s lawyer, Awa Sisay however told the court that she went to the registrar on that morning for the records, but was told to wait for two additional weeks.
The Director of Special Litigation however assured that the state will join the forces with the appellant to make that the records available before the adjourned date.
Case resume January 21 for hearing.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Janke Samateh Freed But.....................

Janke Samateh on Monday walk home as a free woman following her discharged and acquitted her after the prosecution fail to establish the ‘actus reus’ of the offense under the charge but the property used as security to perfect the bond should be forfeited to the state.
Charged with aiding her brother’s escape from state custody and facilitated his escape to Holland and the disappearances of her brother after she posted a bond of D200, 000 dalasi to facilitate the release of Mr. Samateh Janke was arrested and remanded for more than six months.
The magistrate however in delivering his judgment said the prosecution did not lead any circumstantial evidence how the accused facilitated or aided the escape of Sillaba Samateh “the prosecution has failed woefully to make out a case against the accused person” he said.
He said the defense counsel L.S Camara has earlier submitted that Sillaba Samateh was not a prisoner as he was never charged or held for living committed any offence. He added that the unchallenged evidence of pw1 the only witness in trial is that the said Sillaba Samateh was in custody at the NIA until the accused presented herself and took him out of bail.
He added that the prosecution might have the strong believe that the accused indeed aided the escape Sillaba Samateh but there is nothing on record to confirm this.
Magistrate Nkea also noted that the the accused admitted having taken out the said Sillaba whom he described as her blood brother on bail but however denied having done anything whatever to facilitate the escape of his brother adding that they live in different houses and that she has never set eyes on him since she took him on bail.

“End Forced Marriage”

“Forced marriage should end because it is the worst violence against women. Forced marriage should be criminalized. We have paid respect to ancient tradition for so long that rights of women and girls are ignored. Parents should know that suppressing the feelings of their children is the worst crime one can commit against humanity. Should they throw away their girl children to the guts for their happiness and greed or should poverty consent them to sell their daughters to satisfy their desires?” a victim of force marriage in her 30s revealed to Musoolula Bantabaa.
Musoolula Bantabaa (Women’s Forum) is a column that brings you issues that affect the lives of women, hampering their contribution and achievement worldwide.
The number of women and girls who have become victims of forced marriages in The Gambia have been drastically underestimated. The issue of force marriage is growing especially in our rural areas. Most of this victims are school going girls. A forced marriage is a marriage that is performed under duress and without the full and informed consent or free will of one or both parties. Being under duress includes feeling both physical and emotional pressure. Some victims of forced marriage are tricked into going to another country by their families. Victims fall prey to forced marriage through deception, abduction, coercion, fear, and inducements and poverty.
Though it has not been limited to women and girls, as boys and men are also forced to marry against their will.
“I was force to marry a relative. He wasn’t my age, he was far, far more older and I didn’t want to marry him. I was leading a happy life with the man I love and I didn’t want to marry the one my father chose for me. It was hard for me and I was Confused whether to marry a person whom I love or go with my parents’ choice who threatened to disown me if I did not marry the suitor he chose for me”, she narrated.
“I was in love with a childhood friend, whom I have been dating for the last eight years before I forcefully got married, but I loved him secretly and my parents never knew about it. When he proposed marriage to me three years back, I said yes.........but my father threaten to throw me out of the house if I dare to. I was left with no other choice but to bow to my father’s words. I was scared to tell relatives or any other person that it was a forced marriage. I just pretended to be happy”, she said.
“I agreed with the point that parents always make good decisions for us, but when it comes to marriage it creates a hell lot of problems. Marriage is not just being in a union with an opposite sex. We all know how some old backward traditions oppressed women in the grossest and the most outrageous forms,” she explained and puzzled “Don’t you think it is time to request for an immediate measure to safeguard women’s wellbeing?”
“Parents or guardians, especially fathers do not ask for the consent of girl children for their marriage. In most cases the husband travel, he does not regularize his stay to be visiting home like my own case. My husband left and went to Europe since I was pregnant with my first child who is now ten years old. Though he has been taking care of me and his son, but the question is: How long will I wait to see him”, she said in watery eyes.”
“If I was asked to choose again, I will definitely marry the man I love rather the one they choose for me. I will not care if I will be disowned.  Marriage is not ideal, but a real thing”.
Women who become victims of forced marriage often have no idea about who their husbands will be and have no rights once they are married.

It is not wise to enter into marriage without the full and free consent of both parties, such consent to be expressed by them in person after publicity and in the presence of the authority, competence to solemnize the marriage and witnessed, as prescribed in the Quran.

EX-IGP Ensa Badjie’s Torture Assertion Fails to Proceed

The high profile case involving Ex- IGP Ensa Badjie and two others was expected to proceed yesterday with Ensa’s allegation of tortured by security agent, but it could not proceed because of the judiciary praying held at the Supreme Court, High Court of The Gambia in Banjul.
The trial has begun rather speedily, but it has taken a different dimension after Badjie’s lawyer Borry S. Touray claimed that his client was tortured, pressuring the court to settling the dust over the allegation (trial within a trial) before proceeding with the main trial.
Ensa Badjie on the last adjourned date opened his defense before Justice Amadi. He cried as he tried to prove his torture, explaining the alleged coldhearted treatment he was subjected to in the hands of the state security agents.
He also told the court that he was humiliated and abused by the NIA, tortured all over his body until he oozed from his mouth and nose.
The case was subsequently adjourned until yesterday, because the accused person was weeping uncontrollably in court, but it has not proceeded due to coincidence with judiciary pray day. 

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Ensa Badjie to give Evidence Today

The erstwhile embattled Police boss, Ensa Badjie is expected to defend his innocence after the state filed a suit against him and Assistant Superintendant of Police, Ali Ceesay, a prison officer for corruption and drug related charges.
The Ex-Inspector General of Police and ASP Ali Ceesay are facing 15 counts ranging from robbery, aiding prisoners, abuse of office, drug related charges among others.
Allegations they strongly denied.
Ex-IGP Ensa Badjie
Ex-IGP Badjie was sacked and arrested in March 2010.
The state in proving their case beyond all reasonable doubts has called 10 witnesses among which included convicts who all gave evidence implicating the former police boss.
Pw1 Soriba Condeh asserted that Ensa Badjie recruited all sorts of criminals, “bandits” for his personal greed.
Dodou Janneh, also a convict serving a death sentence for murder had earlier given evidence against him alleging that Ensa used to buy alcohol and cannabis for Soriba Condeh (pw1) whist he was in the police cell, adding that Ensa always threatened him to be quiet or lose his job.
He also told the court, “I am not expecting presidential pardon, the only hope I have is my appeal, which I am ready to follow up”, when Borry S. Touray put it to him that he was lying in court owing the fact that he (Dodou) told the 1st accused, NIA officials and the DDP that if he testified in the trial he would be pardoned.
The Serrekunda Police boss who testified as the last witness said Ensa Badjie was the one behind all the breakings in 2007, who confessed to him that nobody could arrest Soriba Condeh (Pw1), because he has spiritual powers.
The case resumes today.


Jankey Samateh’s Judgment Rescheduled for Today

A gloomy look could clearly be seen on Jankey Samateh’s face after she was told that the judgment will be delivered today January 10 instead of the previously scheduled date of January 7, 2011.

Jankey Samateh, a married woman in her 40s, was expecting to know her fate on Friday January 7, 2011 after spending more than six months in remand for allegedly securing a bail for his brother Sillaba Samateh from intelligence officers.

The reason(s) for not delivering the judgment on January 7 was not clear to this reporter, but both the state and defense counsels were in court.

Sister to alleged drug dealer, Sillaba Samateh, who was testifying against former Police chief Ensa Badjie, first appeared at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court, Tuesday, August 10, 2011 charged with aiding her brother’s escape from state custody and facilitated his escape to Holland. . She is blamed for the disappearances of her brother after she posted a bond of D200, 000 dalasi to facilitate the release of Mr. Samateh.

She denied the charges.

Jankey opened her defense last month. She informed the court that she was married 20 years ago and that she has children and knows how to take care of her family. She also said she didn’t know why his brother was at the NIA. "I don't know, because I don't know what he did," she revealed, adding if his brother’s freedom was seized it would cause their family sadness.

The defence suffered a severe blow when its application for bail was denied by the court.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Social Security Boss Remanded

Mr Graham is to remain under
 custody until next hearing
Mr. Edward Graham, former managing director of Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation accused of economic crimes has been denied bail by Magistrate Nkea of the Banjul Magistrates’ Court yesterday.
Graham’s lawyer, Amie Bensouda had argued that his client needed an overseas medical treatment, but Magistrate Nkea said there is no medical evidence indicating that the type of surgery cannot be performed in The Gambia.
"The desire to have the surgery carried out only in the UK is one that can only be enjoyed a free man which the accused at this moment is not," Nkea said, expressing fear that Mr Graham may never return.
The trial magistrate instructed that Mr Graham be remanded, as the state counsel requests, pending completion of investigations into the matter.
Mr Graham is facing four charges of economic crimes; for directing the payment of D880, 250.00 without necessary collaterals and on terms detrimental to the economy of The Gambia.
Meanwhile the state has been ordered to end their investigations within 10 days.
The case resumes January 17

Magistrate Fails Promise

Emmanuel Nkea of the Banjul Magistrate’s court Wednesday failed to honour his pledge to grant bail to Karamo Saidy Fatajo as he promised during the previous sitting. 
Karamo Saidy Fatajo, a trader at Albert Market in Banjul is being tried for what the state called, ‘breaching the peace’ by saying that Senegal will attack The Gambia after Gambia government branded Senegalese president, Abdoulie Wade enemy, accusing Wade of engaging in a smear campaign against The Gambia.

The saga came hard on the heels of mounting allegations in Senegal and beyond linking The Gambia to the controversial arms shipment seized in Nigeria from UN-sanctioned Iran.

Fatajo was arrested last month and his lawyer Lamin LK Mboge who has been pushing to secure him bail gestured in a manner observed to be a surprised at the magistrate’s decision to disallow his client to re-join his family until next hearing.

Meanwhile, Mr Fatajo’s fellow trader at Banjul Albert Market who admitted reporting him to the police told the court that he is aware there is freedom of speech, but subjected to the law.

Mboge however put it to the witness that the accused was just analyzing the Secretary General’s speech and exchanging ideas but Mr Musa Ceesay, the witness insisted that Mr Fatajo was expressing ‘bad opinion.’

The witness denied abusing the accused when Mboge asked but only confronted him as saying ‘nonsense’. He said he has no personal relationship with the accused person and cannot remember when he last talked to him.
"I always greet him whenever I find him sitting and that does not leave anyone out," he said.

mans falls victims as a result of the
 alleged Gambia-bound controversial arms
shipment seized in Nigeria
Mr Mboge however accused the witness of roaming the market and not concentrating on his business but the witness responded that he was the chairman of the Albert market and could go anywhere he wanted within the market.

The witness told the court that he wouldn’t know what the accused was discussing with one Yaya Trawally about the SG’s speech before he arrived at the scene because he was not a ‘saint’. Mboge put it to him that they were just exchanging ideas but the witness said that was not true.
"You told the court that you are not a saint. How can you know that" Mboge stressed.

"I don’t know" said the witness.
The case resumes January 12