26 February 2013

Gambia: Justice Ikpala Calls for Seriousness in Ex-Agric Officials' Trial As Court Writes to the DPP

The trial judge in the case involving the ex- agriculture officials, Justice Ikpala of the Brikama High Court yesterday, 25th February, called on the state to be serious with the case after the prosecution has failed to appear in court for almost two months causing many setbacks in the trial and which prompted the court to write to the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to take the case seriously or it would strike out the case.

The trial judge in his ruling noted the failure of the prosecution to appear in court since the 5th December 2012, adding that the attitude of the state in the case is not fair to the accused persons.

Justice Ikpala stressed that the court is not a sanctuary of keeping case files and that the Court will write to the Director of Public Prosecution to demand for the appearance of the prosecution or for the court to drop the case.

Meanwhile, Lawyers Sheriff Tambadou, Lamin S. Camara and Bola Carol are the defence team which is representing the accused persons.

The case however could not proceed because of the absence of the prosecution in court. It was subsequently adjourned till Wednesday, 13th March 2013.

It could be recalled that the trial involved eight former senior officials of the Ministry of Agriculture and one local business person who are being tried on five counts of economic crimes, two counts of negligence of official duty and three counts of uttering false documents. The accused persons are Alhagie Bakary Trawally, former Permanent Secretary, Mr. Kekoi Kuyateh, former Deputy Permanent Secretary, Dr. Amadou Sowe, former Permanent Secretary, Dr. Mustapha Ceesay, former Deputy Director of NARI, Mrs. Awa Sey Touray, former Supplies Officer, Mr. Momodou Mbye Jabang, former Programme Coordinator, Mr. Yusupha Jawara, Mr. Seedy Jarju, former Permanent Secretary and Mr. Modou Lamin Ceesay, a businessman.

The accused persons were arraigned before the subordinate court and remanded in custody for more than a month. They were granted bail by the then trial Judge, Justice Emmanuel Amadi of the Brikama High Court, Tuesday, June 05, 2012.

Alhagie Bakary Trawally and Modou Lamin Ceesay, the 1st and 2nd accused persons, were each granted bail in the sum of D3, 000,000 with two sureties each with a landed property within the Greater Banjul Area. The sureties must also produce their own title deeds whose value is D3, 000,000, and the accused persons must surrender all their travel documents to the court.

Dr Amadou Sowe, Mr.Seedy Jarju, Mr. Momodou Mbye Jabang, Mr. Kekoi Kuyateh, Dr Mustapha Ceesay and Mr. Yusupha Jawara, were each granted bail in the sum of D2, 000,000, each with one Gambian surety with a landed property within the Greater Banjul Area. They must also surrender their own personal property whose value is D2, 000,000 and the accused persons must surrender all their travel documents to the court.

Earlier, Mrs. Awa Sey Touray was granted bail by the Banjul High Court.

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