Lamin AMS Jobarteh, former Attorney General and Minister of Justice yesterday 16th of December, 2013 pleaded not guilty to two criminal count charges i.e. 'Abuse of Office and Destroying Evidence' preferred against him at the Banjul Magistrates' Court presided over by Principal Magistrate Hillary Abeke. He was granted bail in the sum of one million dalasis and ordered to produce two Gambian sureties who should swear to an affidavit of means and deposit title deeds of properties situated within the Greater Banjul Area. Prior to the granting of bail, his counsel, Lamin S Camara applied for bail pursuant to Section 99 of the Criminal Procedure Code; adding that both charges against the accused are misdemeanour and bail able offences. The defence further submitted that the accused is on bail on other cases and does not cause any fly risk to the court or any other court within the jurisdiction.
He urged the court to exercise its discretion and grant bail to the accused person. "Bail is surely at the discretion of the court and I respectfully enjoined Your Worship to exercise that discretion judiciously and in favour of the accused person", he submitted. Counsel finally urged the court to take into consideration Section 99 Sub Section 2 of the Criminal Procedure Code in granting bail to the accused person.
Delivering the ruling on the bail application, the trial Magistrate indicated that since the State did not oppose the application for bail and leaves it entirely at the discretion of the court, bail is granted to the accused in the sum of one million dalas and on condition that he produce two Gambian sureties who must swear to an affidavit of means and deposit title deeds of properties situated in the Greater Banjul Area.
According to the Particulars of Offence on Count one, the accused person sometime in the Month of May, 2012 at the Ministry of Justice, within the jurisdiction of the court whilst being employed as the Attorney General and Minister of Justice acted in excess of powers of his office and instructed Miss Anna Dibba, a State Counsel in the Special Litigation Department to effect a withdrawal of a legal suit State versus Muhammed Kebbeh and Alhagie Ash John that was before the Banjul Magistrates' Court and thereby committed an offence. Count two, particulars of offence, disclosed that Mr. Jobarteh sometime in the Month of May, 2012 obtained a case file State Versus Muhammed Kebbeh and Alhagie Ash John from Anna Dibba then of Special Litigation Department in the Ministry of Justice and wilfully destroyed the same with intent of preventing it from being used in further proceedings and thereby committed an offence.
The case is adjourned to 31st of December, 2013 for hearing.