Former Agric PS, others face more charges

Friday, July 03, 2015
The Banjul Magistrates’ Court presiding over by Magistrate M.S. Jallow yesterday transferred the economic crime charge involving the former Agriculture ministry officials, as the lower court lacked the jurisdiction to try the matter.

He further said the accused persons should be kept in police custody, until when the high court would be ready to hear the matter or the police to avail them bail.

The accused persons are Ada Gaye, former permanent secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture, Fafanding Fatajo, project coordinator of FASDEP, Omar Jammeh, financial controller of FASDEP, Dr Abdou Ceesay and Foday Jadama.

Applying for bail on behalf of the accused persons, the defence counsel, Sheriff Marie Tambedou, said the particulars of the charge sheet were read to the accused persons on 14 October 2014, prior to the case being transferred to the high court.

He said that on 29 June 2015, the director of public prosecutions withdrew the charge before the high court, but unfortunately they were re-arrested on 30 June 2015.

Regarding the economic crime charge, he said section 208 of the CPC had empowered the magistrate court to grant bail subject to section 99 of the CPC, adding that by virtue of this section, the court had the power to grant them bail.

Emphasising that the high court had granted the accused persons the same bail conditions as the one in the magistrate court, he therefore urged the court to grant them bail.

However, the court ruled that the accused persons be remanded in police custody until the high court was ready with the case or the police avail them with police bail.

Count one stated that Ada Gaye, Fafanding Fatajo and Omar Jammeh, in December 2013, in Banjul, in their capacity as permanent secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, project coordinator and financial controller of the Food and Agriculture Sector Development Project (FASDEP) respectively, paid D700,000 to one Foday Jadama, for training of FASDEP beneficiaries in upland conservation, which was not conducted nor was it retired by Foday Jadama.

Count two stated that Ada Gaye, Fafanding Fatajo and Omar Jammeh, in March 2014, at FASDEP, in Banjul, paid an amount of D527,349. 55 to one Foday Jadama to train 300 FASDEP beneficiaries in crop husbandry over five days; instead he trained 114 people, which was detrimental to the economy of The Gambia.

Count three indicated that Ada Gaye, Fafanding Fatajo, and Omar Jammeh, in March 2014, in their capacities as permanent secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, project coordinator and financial controller of FASDEP respectively, in Banjul, paid D197,250 to one Dr Abdou Ceesay to train 20 extension workers in poultry production over 5 days, but instead trained 10 or half of the target, an act detrimental to the economy of The Gambia.

Count four stated that Foday Jadama, in December 2013, in his capacity as the deputy director of soil and water management services under the Ministry of Agriculture, received a payment of D700,000 from FASDEP beneficiaries in upland conservation in LRR and WCR, which was not retired and there was no evidence to show that the training was conducted. And in March 2014, he received D527,349.55 from FASDEP to train 300 FASDEP beneficiaries in crop husbandry over five days; instead he trained 114, an act detrimental to the economy of The Gambia.

Count five stated that Dr Abdou Ceesay, in March 2014, in his capacity as the director of the department of livestock services, received a payment of D197,250 from FASDEP, to train 20 extension workers in poultry production over 5 days and he instead trained 10 half of the target, an act detrimental to economy of the Gambia.

Count six stated that Ada Gaye, FafandingFatajo and Omar Jammeh, in February 2014, in their capacities as permanent secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, project coordinator and financial controller of FASDEP, respectively, made a payment of D190.000 to SCENSA Company Ltd for the training of FASDEP staff in Excel, and also in May 2014made another payment of D190,000 to SCENSA for carrying out a needs assessment for community and municipal markets, knowing fully that SCENSA Company Ltd was not registered with The Gambia Public Procurement Authority (GPPA).

Count seven stated that Ada Gaye, in June 2014, in her capacity as permanent secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture in Banjul, recommended to the African Development Bank (ADB) to appoint Omar Jammeh, the finance controller of FASDEP as acting project coordinator of FASDEP and at the same time being the financial controller, which violated the financial instruction.

Count eight stated that Ada Gaye and Omar Jammeh in June 2014, in their capacities as permanent secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and financial controller of FASDEP, jointly conspired among themselves and recommended to the African Development Bank (ADB) for the appointment of Omar Jammeh as the acting project coordinator of FASDEP.

Author: Bakary Samateh
Source: Picture: Lawyer Sheriff Tambedou