The magistrates’ court in Banjul on Wednesday March 18, slapped a young man with a 14-year 6-month jail term for posing as The Gambia’s president Yahya Jammeh.
Ma Ebou Cham had been charged with impersonation and making false documents when he registered on a social media network, LinkedIn using President Jammeh’s details.
When the charges were read to him, the young man believed to be in his 20s, pleaded guilty to the charges.
“But I did not do it with any criminal intent, I just want be like the president,” he told the court.
However, according to the prosecution, Cham has addressed e-mail messages to Professor Kah, vice chancellor of the University of The Gambia posing as Jammeh.
“Cham in an e-mail advised the vice chancellor to look for Ma Ebou Cham, who is a computer wizard, and employ him at the UTG IT department,” the director of Special Litigation, D.O Kulo told the court.
“In another e-mail,” Kulo went on, “he instructed the vice chancellor to withdraw the sum of D300, 000 for the UTG for the purpose of arranging for his flight and accommodation.
According to Kulo, vice chancellor Kah believed the instruction came from President Jammeh and tripped to Dakar, Senegal to look for Cham in order to employ him as instructed.
In delivering his judgment, the magistrate described Mr Cham as a first class criminal.
He then sentenced him as follows: 6 months in jail with hard labour for impersonation, 7 years in jail with hard labour for making documents without authority and another 7 years with hard labour for making false documents. The sentences are to run consecutively.