23 January 2013

Gambia: Ex-IGP, Ensa Badjie and Co. Handed 10 Years Imprisonment

The 51 count criminal trial against former Inspector General of Police (IGP) Ensa Badjie, former chiefs of the Gambia Armed Forces, Lt. Colonel Mam Matarr Secka and, Major Kuluteh Manneh, came to an end after Justice Emmanuel Nkea of the Criminal Division of the High Court, found the trio liable on varying criminal offences they were tried on, and sentenced them to ten (10) years imprison.

The convicted trio was tried on the alleged commission of different offences, ranging from; official corruption, sedition, abuse of office, economic crime, obtaining goods by false pretence and conspiracy.

Justice Nkea gave a run down of the general criminal law rule that the burden of proving a criminal allegation beyond reasonable doubt, is borne by the prosecution. He stated that proof beyond reasonable doubt requires that the court has to consider the whole evidence before it, to determined the guilt or otherwise of the accused.

He added that the "court should not examine facts in issue separately and in isolation; and it is sufficient that if in the context of all the evidence, a state of reasonable doubt is left as to the guilt of the accused, the only conclusion which ought to be drawn is that the prosecution has not made out the case and the accused is entitled to acquittal."

He added that the prosecution has to adduce enough evidence to prove all the relevant facts that are necessary for someone to be convicted.

According to Justice Nkea, the prosecution had proved the charge of official corruption against the first accused person, Ensa Badjie. Badjie was found liable for abusing his office as IGP, after, according to the judge, it was proved that he 'overtly solicited' assistance from one Ousainou Tayudeen. This conduct, Justice Nkea stated in the judgment "offended the sense of the probity that goes with the Office of the Inspector General of Police as it was inappropriate, and prejudicial to the rights of Tayudeen." The 2nd and 3rd accused persons were also convicted of abusing their offices on similar grounds.

The trio was convicted on having seditious intention after evidence was led that they intended to put the person of President Jammeh into disrepute, when the 1st accused gave some substance to Sillaba Samateh in the presence of the 2nd accused and told him (Sillaba) that he should tell anyone who asked that they were drugs that were given by President Jammeh, to be sold.

They were also found liable for obtaining goods by false pretence.

However, Justice Nkea held that the prosecution "failed woefully in their conception of the charges brought under section 5(g) of the Economic Crimes (Specified Offences) Act", Justice Nkea, held.

He said: "There is no bit of evidence suggesting the acts of the accused persons jointly or severally caused loss to the State in anyway. As a result, I reach that the conclusion that the charges brought under section 5(g) cannot stand."

The prosecution, he added: "failed to leas any concrete evidence in support of these (economic crimes) charges as required by law."

Justice Nkea also stated that the prosecution again failed to prove the case against the 2nd and 3rd accused under section 52(1) (b) of the Criminal Code.

All three were convicted and sentenced to ten (10) years imprisonment on count 1 and to several others ranging from 3 to four years. However, all sentences will run concurrently, Justice Nkea ordered.

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