Saturday, May 26, 2012

‘You Don’t Send People to Remand and Go and Sleep’

Justice Amadi on the Middle, defense counsels on his sides
In a marked display of outrage yesterday at the High Court in Brikama, defense lawyers had expressed frustration over the prosecution’s seeming laid-back attitude towards the case of former top officials of the Ministry of Agriculture.
The eight ex-agric officials and a Gambian businessman are facing 10 criminal charges, including economic crime and neglect of duty. The allegations stemmed from a Commission of Inquiry’s discovery of importation of ineffective fertilizers. They, however, denied any wrongdoing.
Five of the nine accused persons, amongst them, two former permanent secretaries, were denied bail on Tuesday, while two remain at large and the only female, was released on bail since then.
“You don’t send defendants to remand and you go and sleep,”defense lawyer, Lamin Camara, said in an emphatic tone.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Ex-Agric Officials Denied Bail

Relatives and love ones sobing after the court denied them 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.

Bid to force Kah to Court Failed

Professor Kah
The Magistrates’ Court in Banjul on Monday has turned down the prosecution’s request to oblige Professor Muhammadou M O .Kah to testify against Gumbo Touray, a former top official of University of The Gambia (UTG).
The UTG Vice Chancellor Kah, was supposed to give testimony when the case resumed on Monday May 21, but was reported to have traveled out of the jurisdiction.
This prompted Supt. Sainey Joof, a police officer, prosecuting Gumbo Touray to request the court to subpoena Prof Kah.
“The court can only force a person who refuses to come to court,” defense lawyer Badou Conteh said, however.
And the presiding magistrate, Ade TaiwoAlagbe has refused to grant the application, because he believed that Prof Kah is willing to come to court.
Gumbo Touray was the former director of International Affairs of the University of The Gambia, but fell out with Prof Kah, who allegedly suspended and later fired him.

Former anti-Drug Agents’ Sentence ‘a Bit Harsh’

Convicts being escorted to the waiting truck

It has been two years of a traumatic courtroom experience for the families of the embattled former top brass of the National Drug Enforcement Agency (NDEA).
In the face of the widespread economic hardship, they might have been feeling the pinch of the high cost of fares in traveling to and from Banjul, as their loved ones in the stifling legal tussle were said to be the breadwinners.
Yet, these familiar sea of people, amongst them, their wives, children, mothers, fathers, friends, and other close relatives and dependants, were as regular at the High Court in Banjul as the tried.

Bail for Ex-Agric Top Brass Still Being Contested

Agric Officials shaking hands with love ones
Although the High Court in Banjul has denied bail to the embattled former top brass of the Ministry of Agriculture, the defense lawyers have renewed their campaign to have them bailed.
“One fundamental principle of common law is the presumption of innocence [of the accused] until proven guilty by a court of law,” a defense lawyer in the high profile trial, Lamin Camara, has said.
This was when the trial that started last month at Banjul, the capital, resumed yesterday – Thursday May 17 – at the High Court in Brikama, where it has been transferred.
The former agric officials’ saga came after a recent Gambia government-sanctioned inquiry into fertiliser procurement and distribution, found “the entire ministry at fault either by complacent or negligent of alleged corrupt and other malpractices.”

Thursday, May 10, 2012

“I Never Begged for ‘Tobaski’ Ram from SillabaSamateh”

Police Chief, Ensa Badjie

Lt Colonel Mam Matarr Secka, former administrative officer and officer commanding transport at the Gambia Armed Forces has denied the claim that he begged a ‘Tobaski’ ram from SillabaSamateh.
This allegation had been earlier levied by SillabaSamateh in his testimony, but the former top military officer told the High Court that the allegation is false, saying “I worked and I am a responsible man.”
Lt Col Secka stands accused on multiple criminal offenses together with another dismissed top army officer Major KulutehManneh and embattled former police chief, EnsaBadjie.
Among other charges which include corruption, abuse of office, economic crime, defraud, sedition, they were allegedly selling illicit drugs, claiming to be engaged in the illicit trade by President Jammeh. However, they denied the allegations as unfounded.
SillabaSamateh, a suspected drug dealer, is the state’s prime witness but jumped bail under controversial circumstances before the completion his testimony.
Now his time to tell his side of the story, Secka also denied having aircraft training as alleged in the court. He denied further that he had a meeting with his alleged accomplices in the drug trade.

Author: Binta A Bah

Coco Ocean Attempted Murder Case at High Court

Coco Ocean boss

Two young men were arraigned on Monday at the High Court in Banjul in connection with the attempted murder of the owner of luxurious Coco Ocean Resort and Spa.

Mr Farid Bensouda sustained wounds and fractures on his body after a severe beating was unleashed on him recently. He was reportedly flown out for medical treatment.

The accused persons, Mohammed Carew and Modou Jaw, all Gambians face four criminal charges - robbery with violence, conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder and conspiracy to commit felony.

Court Ordered for Kah’s Testimony in Gumbo’s Case

Gumbo Touray

Prof. Kah
Magistrate Ade Taiwo Alage yesterday ordered the prosecution to bring Professor Muhammadou M O Kah to testify in criminal case involving Gumbo Touray.
The former director of international affairs of the University of The Gambia is standing trial on allegation of giving false information to a public office.

This charge that could land Mr Touray in jail for six months stemmed from a petition he addressed to the President against the first Gambian-born Vice Chancellor of the UTG, Prof Kah.