Former Agric officials face new 11-count charge

Friday, June 05, 2015
Three former Ministry of Agriculture officials were yesterday indicted on a fresh 11-count charge ranging from abuse of office to neglect of official duty, economic crimes and disobedience to statutory duty, before Justice Abi of the Banjul High Court.

The accused persons are Lamin Fatajo, the ex-programme coordinator of the Rural Finance Project, Lamin Mass, ex-administrative manager of the Rural Finance Project and Ada Gaye, ex-permanent secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture.

Adeyemi represented the state, E. Singhateh represented the 1st and 2nd accused persons, while SM Tambadou represented the 3rd accused person.When the case was called, state counsel Adeyemi informed the court that they had filed the amended charge sheet, and were ready for plea-taking.

However, lawyer SM Tambadou said they were served with the amended charges in court and they did not advise their clients on how to plead on the charges against them; as a result they were seeking an adjournment.

The trial judge then adjourned the case to 18 June 2015 at 12 pm for plea-taking and continuation of the hearing.According to the indictment in count one, the accused persons, Lamin Fatajo, the ex-programme coordinator of Rural Finance Project, and Lamin Mass, ex-administrative manager of the Rural Finance Project, between February and November 2013, in Banjul and diverse placeswithin the jurisdiction of the court, whilst being employed as programme coordinator of Rural Finance Project and acting financeand administrative manager of the Rural Finance Project respectively, abused their offices by authorizing salary advances to project staff in which D92,827,75 was still outstanding in contravention of the project finance and administrative procedure manual.

Count two stated that the duo, between December 2013 and May 2014, in the same place whilst being employed in the same positions respectively neglected their official duties by failing to stop the payment of D18,000 as sitting allowances to some committee members who failed to attend such meetings.

Count three stated that the three accused persons between the same months and places whilst employed in the same positions respectively approved and paid the sum of D120,000 to a committee as honorarium for a meeting that never took place, which act was detrimental to the economy of The Gambia or to the welfare of the people of The Gambia.

Count four stated that the three accused persons between the same months and places whilst being employed in the same positions respectively paid the sum of D20,000 to Ada Gaye (3rd accused), Dawda Fadera and Pateh Jah as remuneration for a report that was never prepared, which act is detrimental to the economy of The Gambia or to the welfare of the people of The Gambia.

Count five stated that the 1st accused person between the same months and places whilst being employed in the same position signed a contract amounting to D200,000 with one Sheriff Sanyang in contravention of the Gambia Public Procurement Authority Act.

Count six stated that the 1st accused person on 4 September 2013, in Banjul and within the jurisdiction of the court whilst being employed in the same position, awarded contract to one Bai Senghore and paid him the sum of D100,000 in contravention of the Gambia Public Procurement Act.

Count seven stated that the 3rd and 2nd accused persons in the same places and in the same positions neglected their official duties by authorizing the payment of D14,000 to one Sonko Fofana without first seeking and obtaining approval from IFAD.

Count eight stated that the 1st and 2nd accused sometime in May 2014, at Bakau and diverse places in their capacities as ex-administrative manager of the Rural Finance Project and programme coordinator of Rural Finance Project, opened an account with Keystone Bank for Friend Consult Ltd through Rural Finance project without informing the PS for Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs and the Ministry of Agriculture.

Count nine stated that the 1st and 2nd accused persons in the same months and places in their capacities as programme coordinator of Rural Finance Project and administrative manager of the Rural Finance Project, abused their offices by opening an account with Keystone Bank for Friend Consult Ltd, a Ugandan firm, to access funds from their donors IFAD without approval from their authorities.

Count ten stated that the 1st accused on 10 April 2014, in Banjul, as programme coordinator of Rural Finance Project, abused his office by taking one Alajie Jammeh, the RFD Day watchman on the President’s Dialogue with the People’s Tour as his personal security guard/orderly at a cost to RFP of D13,117.50.

Count eleven stated that the 1st accused on 5 May in Banjul, whilst being employed in the same position, paid himself excess amount of D20,250 per diem whilst travelling to the Democratic Republic of Congo, which act is detrimental to the economy of The Gambia or to the welfare of the Gambian people

Author: Halimatou Ceesay