FOROYAA Newspaper (Serrekunda)

Gambia: Jailed Former Justice Minister Faces Fresh Charges

Mr. Lamin A.M.S Jobarteh, former Attorney General and Minister of Justice who is serving jail term at the State Central prison in Mile Two in the outskirts of Banjul was on Monday, 17 February, charged with five counts of criminal offenses before Justice Mikhail Abdullahi of the Criminal Division of the Banjul High Court.

When the case was mentioned, Mr. S.H Barkun, Director of Public Prosecution [DPP] announced his appearance for the state while lawyer Lamin S. Camara appeared for the jailed former Attorney General and Minister of Justice.

The defendant could not take his plea after his lawyer objected that the charges are incompetent and premature and urged the court to strike out the case. "It's a correct law that a trial at the High Court in a criminal case should be by way of information and what we have before this court is not an information.

There is no list of witnesses as required by the law.

There is no list of attachment of the document that the prosecution is seeking to rely on in this case and the prosecution has the obligation to provide those documents. I urge the court to order those documents to be filed," said lawyer Lamin S. Camara.

Defense counsel Camara drew the attention of the court to section 90 of the Criminal Code, arguing that counts 1 and 2 of the charge sheet cannot proceed without the sanction of the Attorney General.

He said as far as he knows, the Attorney General's sanction is not on the file. He said it is precedent before the court can proceed that the sanction of the Attorney General be obtained. "I urged this court to strike out the charge for want of competence," he submitted.

The Director of Public Prosecution argued that the objection was misconceived because they have filed the charge sheet together with the summary of evidence with the list of witnesses.

He submitted that on the issues of witnesses and fiat as mentioned by the defence , the file was signed by the Director of Public Prosecution who according to the constitution has the power to file and institute any charges.

"The only question one can ask is whether the Director of Public Prosecution [DPP] has the consent or approval of the Attorney General and there is no iota of doubt in that," submitted Mr. Barkun, Director of Public Prosecution.

The DPP further argued that section 90 of the Criminal Code cited by the defense did not mention any written sanction of the Attorney General. He urged the court to overrule the objection.

Subsequently, the case was adjourned till Wednesday 19th February 2014, for ruling on the matter. Meanwhile, the following are the fresh charges brought against the jailed Attorney General and Minister of Justice. COUNT ONE: STATEMENT OF OFFENSE Abuse of office contrary to section 90 (2) of the Criminal Code, Cap 10:01 Volume 3, Laws of The Gambia 2009.

PARTICULARS OF OFFENCE Lamin A.M.S. Jobarteh, sometime in the year 2011 at Tubanding Village, Upper Fulladu West, Central River Region, within the jurisdiction of this court, being a Judge of the High Court,in abuse the authority of your office, ordered and directed the arrest of Mustapha Kanyi at Bansang Police Station and thereby committed an offence.

COUNT TWO STATEMENT OF OFFENCE Abuse of office contrary to Section 90 (2) of the Criminal Code, Cap 10:01 Volume 3, Laws of The Gambia 2009.

PARTICULARS OF OFFENCE Lamin A.M.S. Jobarteh, sometime in the year 2011 at Tubanding Village, Upper Fulladu West, Central River Region, within the jurisdiction of this court, being a Judge of the High Court, in abuse of the authority of your office, ordered and directed the arrest and detention of Yerro Jamanka at Bansang Police Station and thereby committed an offence.

COUNT THREE STATEMENT OF OFFENCE Forcible entry contrary to Section 80 and punishable under Section 34 of the Criminal Code Cap 10:01 Volume 3, Laws of The Gambia 2009.

PARTICULARS OF OFFENCE Lamin A.M.S. Jobarteh, sometimes between the years 2009 and 2011 at Tubanding Village, Upper Fulladu West, Central River Region, within the jurisdiction of the court, in order to take possession of lands not given to you, entered upon such lands in Tubanding Village by threats and by fencing beyond the areas given to you and thereby committed an offence.

COUNT FOUR STATEMENT OF OFFENCE Forcible entry contrary to section 80 and punishable under section 34 of the Criminal Code Cap10, Volume 3 Laws of The Gambia 2009.

PARTICULARS OF OFFENCE Lamin A.M.S. Jobarteh, sometimes in the month of April 2013 at Bansang, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, in order to take possession of community lands within Bansang Village Bantaba, ordered the relocation of the NAWEC public tap and entered upon such lands in Bansang Village by threats and commenced developments thereon and thereby committed an offence.

COUNT FIVE STATEMENT OF OFFENCE Abuse of office contrary to section 80 and punishable under section 34 of the Criminal Code Cap 10 Volume 3 Laws of The Gambia 2009.

PARTICULARS OF OFFENCE Lamin A.M.S. Jobarteh, sometimes in the month of April 2013 at Bansang, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, being Attorney General and Minister of Justice, in abuse of the authority of your office, arbitrarily ordered and directed the relocation of the NAWEC public tap at Bansang Village Bantaba and thereby committed an offence.

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