|Relatives and love ones sobing after the court denied them bail|
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Ex-Agric Officials Denied Bail
A sad look was clearly visible on the faces of the former officials of the agriculture ministry after their bid for bail was rejected for the second time.
“I have found it difficult to exercise my discretion in favour of the applicants,” Justice Amadi of High Court in Brikama has said, sending the parked courtroom mainly of family members of the accused into tears.
Amongst them three former permanent secretaries, the nine accused persons are standing trial on a ten count charge, which include economic crime, neglect of official duty, and uttering false documents.
This came on the heels of a recent Gambia government sanctioned commission of inquiry into fertiliser procurement and distribution, which found “the entire ministry at fault either by complacent or negligent of corrupt and other malpractices.”
Two of the nine accused persons are still at large and Awa Saye Touray, the only female has been granted bail since then.
Bail for the remaining six was a subject of debate between defense and state counsels last week Thursday. The initial bail application was turned down by the High Court in Banjul.
“Despite the beautiful language in the affidavit, there is little known about them [the accused] and the court will only exercise its discretion of the information before it,” Justice Amadi has said.
He added that the defense counsels have only stated that their clients are resident in the country, but have failed to give a detailed background.
According to him, the state counsel has submitted that the accused persons can intimidate the witnesses as they are influential, adding that it will be easy for the third accused to jump bail as he is a business man, who travels out of the country regularly.
The defense team however, were not happy when the Deputy Director of Special Litigation, Simon Abi, said he was not ready to proceed with the hearing as his witness has traveled out of the jurisdiction.
“You have opposed the application for bail, you have eight witnesses listed and you want the court to adjourn…,” defense lawyer, Ida Drammeh has said urging the court to force the prosecution to proceed.
Meanwhile the accused persons are: former permanent secretaries, SidiJarjue, Dr. Amadou Sowe and Bakary Trawally; Momodou Mbye Jabang, former project coordinator of Farmer Manager project; Awa Saye Touray, a supplies officer, Kekoi Kuyateh, former deputy permanent secretary and Dr Mustapha Ceesay, deputy director general of NARI, all of ministry of agriculture; and Momodou Lamin Ceesay, a local businessman.
The case resumes today.
Author: Binta A Bah