Leadership (Abuja)

Nigeria: Gambian Court Hears Suit Over Food Poisoning On Jonathan

A Gambian Magistrates' Court at Kanifing Municipal Council will today hear a food poisoning trial involving President Goodluck Jonathan, his delegation and Gambia's five-star hotel Coco Ocean, ShanghaiDaily.com reports.

Jonathan was said to have been served with food that had been preserved for a long period, causing him food poisoning during his two-day state visit in Gambia in November, 2013.

According to the online medium, the Gambian police had charged the chef of Coco Ocean Hotel, Ayoub Aliris, with negligence and food poisoning on Jonathan and his delegation.

But Aliris denied the charge when he appeared before the Principal Magistrate, Sheriff Tabally.

According to the police charge sheet, Aliris was said to have unlawfully or negligently cooked prawns served to Jonathan and his entourage as a starter during a special lunch hosted in honour of the visiting Nigerian president.

When the matter came up yesterday, the police prosecutor, Superintendent Touray, appeared before the court together with defence lawyer, Edward Singhateh. But Magistrate Tabally, who was expected to preside over the matter, was absent. He was said to have travelled to the capital less than 9 km away from the magistrate's court.

Lawyer to the plaintiff, Edward Singhateh, was also informed at the court premises that his client, Aliris, was arrested again for the second time after his release from the police custody.

The plaintiff was said to be under the custody of the National Intelligence Agency, but was later transferred to the State Central Prison Mile Two.

Jonathan was caught in a glare of media publicity over a "stomach upset" he suffered and was forced to enter a hospital in London to seek medical attention.

A prosecution witness, Babucarr Gomez, also a cook at Coco Ocean, explained that a day after the lunch, he received a call from his boss informing him that there was an infection in the food served to the Nigerians.

Gomez, who said he was ordered by Aliris to prepare the food, said he also ate it and was "vomiting, experienced stomach ache and frequented the toilet."

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