The Point (Banjul)

Gambia: 10 Years for Gamcel Defrauders

Justice Emmanuel Nkea of the Special Criminal Court yesterday convicted and sentenced Christian Brown, Alhagie Bah and Muhammed Bangura, to ten years mandatory jail term.

This was after they were found liable by the court for defrauding and causing Gamcel to lose millions of dalasi.

The court also told the national GSM operator (Gamcel) to step up to recover whatever losses they might have suffered as result of the act of the accused persons.

The particulars of offence on count one stated that Christian Brown, Alhagie Bah and Muhammed Bangura, between March and April 2011 at Kololi within the jurisdiction of the court, did commit an offence when they conspired to defraud Gamcel of twenty-five million, six hundred and two thousand, two hundred and twenty bututs, being the loss of earnings and other incidentals from Africell by illegally diverting international calls without routing same through international gateway, which act was detrimental to the economy of The Gambia.

Count two stated that the accused persons, between March and April 2011 at Kololi within the jurisdiction of the court, did commit an offence when they willfully caused the loss of twenty-six million, six hundred and ninety-nine thousand, three hundred and thirty-four dalasi, and ten bututs to Gamcel, being accrued earning and other incidentals from Africell by illegally diverting from international gateway, which act was detrimental to the economy of The Gambia.

All the accused persons denied the charges, and the 1st accused, Christian Brown, who was granted bail following his counsel's application, later jumped bail, and was tried in absentia.

The 2nd accused, Alhagie Bah, and 3rd accused, Muhammed Bangura, were present in court during the trial.

Delivering his judgment, Justice Nkea stated that the prosecution called several witnesses and tendered exhibits in support of their case, while the two accused persons, who were available for trial, entered into their own defence without calling any witness in support of their case.

He added that 8 SIM boxes were recovered from the accused persons, and the 1st accused was arrested, which led to the arrest of the 2nd and 3rd accused persons.

Justice Nkea further stated that he had looked at the evidence of the accused persons and also looked at the devices which were sent to them from UK for testing, which were designed for a business.

The judge said it was a criminal act, and the routing which was sent to the 1st accused by Gulam Mustapha from the UK, knowing that all the transaction was criminal.

"I hold that the accused persons had a common intention to establish a criminal enterprise," the judge said in his judgment.

He further stated that the prosecution had established the ingredients of the offence, and the witnesses had laid incriminating evidence against the accused persons, and the facts before the court had supported the charge against the accused persons.

"I hold that the prosecution had proved its case beyond all reasonable doubt," he said.

He consequently convicted and sentenced them accordingly.

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