6 December 2012

Gambia: AMRC Three Face D67.2 Million Charges

The director of Public Prosecution (DPP) SH Barkun, yesterday pressed a new five-count charges ofD67.2M against three ex-top AMRC officials, Abdoulie Tamba, Yusupha Jaiteh and Abdoulie Dibba, at the Special Criminal Court, presided over by Justice Emmanuel Nkea in Banjul.

The charges ranged from stealing, to economic crime, abuse of office, among others, involving various sums of money, including a D67.2M loan the accused persons took without approval of the AMRC board, all contrary to the laws of The Gambia. The accused persons denied the charges.

The case that proceeded with hearing of evidence from PW1, Musa Sarr, acting Recovery officer of the AMRC, was characterised by reading of the amended fresh charges to two of the accused persons (Yusupha Jaiteh and Abdoulie Dibba), who stood in the dock, with their former boss Abdoulie Tamba still on the run. However, their bail condition remained extended.

The particulars of offence on count one, economic crime, stated that the three accused persons, Abdoulie Tamba, Yusupha Jaiteh and Abdoulie Dibba, between 2009 and 2010, in Banjul and diverse places within the jurisdiction of the court, willfully and recklessly caused monetary loss to AMRC to in the sum D15.45M (fifteen million, four hundred and fifty thousand Dalasis) by given rice and cement to various individuals on credit without proper collaterals and thereby committed the offence.

Count two on economic crime revealed that the accused persons, in the said years and place, whilst holding public office, willfully and recklessly caused monetary loss to the AMRC in the sum of D7.2M (seven million, two hundred thousand Dalasis) by fraudulently converting the same amount to the use of Samcard Holding Ltd and thereby committed the offence.

Count three, abuse of office, revealed that the accused persons, between the said years and place, whilst holding a public office, the accused persons took a loan of D67.2M (sixty seven million, two hundred thousand Dalasis) on behalf of the AMRC without the necessary approval of the Board of Directors of AMRC and thereby committed the offence.

Count four, abuse of office; the particulars revealed that the three accused persons, whilst holding the public office in the said years and place, took a loan of D47, 751, 520.00M (forty-seven million, seven hundred and fifty one thousand, five hundred and twenty Dalasis) on behalf of the AMRC, without necessary approval by the AMRC Board of Directors and thereby committed the offence.

Count five, stealing; the particulars stated that the accused persons whilst holding public office, fraudulently converted the sum of D7.2M (seven million, two hundred thousandDalasis) to the use of Samcard Ltd, the money being the property of the AMRC, thereby committed the offence.

Musa Sarr, PW1 further testifying informed the court that the AMRC Task Force identifies debtors by going through the system and extracting all the list of debtors with outstanding balance. He said they do fill the computer with the information given to him including invoices, issue notes, names of customers, their telephone numbers, addresses, quantities, descriptions, among others.

According to PW1, issued notes contain the name of the customer, address, telephone, unit price quantity, signature and the authorizing person that approved it. Asked who approves the issue notes, he replied that it is the Commercial director, Abdoulie Dibba. He said that he (PW1) works under the two accused persons and used to receive copies of accounts from the cashier to fill the information in his computer. He added that he used to counsel his accounts once in every two months from the print outs of account statement.

On what the AMRC does with the absconding debts, PW1 said they used the information about debtors to recover the debts from customers and whereas the debtor is untraceable, such is recorded as absconding debtor.

The witness further testified that he knows the consignments in issue such as the first, second, third consignment of rice and a cement consignment. He identified a bundle of documents shown to him, which he later identified as the list of consignments he mentioned. They were later admitted in evidence and marked as exhibit B. He also identified a document, which he said was a list of absconding debtors "meaning the untraceable debtor" involving the sum of over D15M. This was also marked as exhibit C.

The witness, responding to series of questions from the defence counsel, said he holds a diploma in IT, an advanced diploma in ICM, but he has never done booking, though he got some accounting experience in his secondary school. He said his responsibilities at the AMRC included among others going after debtors to recover the AMRC debts and he is the current acting Recovery officer at the AMRC, under the director of Operations, and that he does receive instructions from the director general of AMRC.

The case comes up on December 18th 2012.

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