The special criminal court in Banjul presided over by Justice Emmanuel Nkea on the 3rd July, 2012 convicted and sentenced one Amadou Baldeh and Folarin Solabi for the offences of economic crime and forgery of official documents contrary to the Laws of The Gambia.
Meanwhile after the DPP, S.H Barkum made an application pursuant to Section 169 of the Criminal Procedure Code for the amendment of the charge to read D80, 000 on count one was granted by the court. The court ordered that the amended charge be read and explained to the accused persons.
According to the particulars of offence on the economic crime, Amadou Baldeh and Folarin Solabi sometime in the month of April 2012 at Sukuta in the Kombo North District of West Coast Region, intentionally caused loss to the economy of The Gambia to the tune of D80, 000 by printing and selling forged vehicle licenses and road tax certificates.
On count two, the particulars of the charge stated that the duo sometime in April 2012 at Sukuta in the Kombo North District of West Coast Region, with intent to defraud, forged vehicle licenses and road tax certificates. The accused persons however pleaded guilty to the two count charges and the presiding judge upon listening to the plea of the accused persons convicted them on both counts.
Defence counsel, Moses Richards said: "The accused persons has been honest enough to accept their criminal responsibilities.This is a clear manifestation of their remorse and what happened which is clearly demonstrated in their demeanor before the court.
They are both first offenders. A man who admits his wrongs is a man who has shown remorse and should be treated with the compassion. The convicts have saved the state much valuable time and resources of the court and the state. We urge the court to temper justice with mercy. We urge the court not to give the accused persons a custodial sentence but to impose a reasonable fine.
We refer the court to section 29 (2) of the criminal procedure code. We pleaded that the convict be given the opportunity to liquidate the sum in installment.The 2nd convict is a man with two young children. The 1st convict is the sole care-giver of his aged parents. We urge the court to temper justice with mercy".
In his sentencing, Justice Nkea said: "I have listened to the plea in mitigation in favour of both convicts by counsel on their behalf.I have considered the fact that the convicts readily pleaded guilty to charge as mitigating factors in their favour. I will also hold the fact that they are both first time offenders as further mitigation in their favour.
They are all remorseful.These are the reasons why I will temper justice with mercy in this case.In doing so, I shall not impose a mandatory jail term but I shall not concede to the request for installmental payment of the fines that will be imposed. In view of the foregoing, I sentence the first convict Amadou Baldeh to a fine of D30, 000 in default to serve 18 months imprisonment with hard labour on count one.
The second convict is sentenced to a fine of D30, 000 in default to serve 18 months imprisonment on count one. On count two, I sentence the 1st convict to a fine of D25, 000 in default to serve one-year imprisonment with hard labour. 2nd convict is sentence to pay a fine of D25, 000 on count two in default to serve one-year imprisonment with hard labour. These sentences to run concurrently.
In addition to the above, the two convicts shall jointly and in equal proportion pay the sum of D80, 000 to the GRA in default of which each shall serve an additional sentence of three years imprisonment with hard labour.