Gov’t officials plead ‘not guilty’ to amended charges

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Twenty-four government officials, charged with neglect of official duties and abuse of office, yesterday pleaded ‘not guilty’ to the amended charges, before Magistrate Kebba Baldeh of the Banjul Magistrates’ Court.

When the case was mentioned, Inspector Sanyang said he was representing the IGP, and with him was Sergeant Jaiteh and CPL Bojang.

Lawyers E. Sanneh and Yasin Senghore represented the accused persons.

Yasin Senghore held brief for lawyer Omar Njie, while E. Sanneh held brief for Combeh Gaye.

Police prosecutor Sanyang applied to amend the charge sheet under section 169 of the CPC to substitute the previous charge sheet, so the accused persons could take their plea.

The defence team did not raise any objection.

The amended charge sheet was then read to the accused persons, who pleaded not guilty.

The prosecutor applied for an adjournment to call their first witness.

Lawyer Senghore told the court that some of the accused persons were on police bail, and she applied for bail under section 24 of the constitution and 99 of the CPC.

She argued that the offences were a misdemeanor.

The prosecutor did object to the bail application.

Lawyer E. Sanneh then told the court that the 8th and 13th accused persons were issued with a bench warrant on 14 November 2016, to appear in court.

He added that they were in court yesterday, and could take their plea.

He urged the court to discharge the bench warrant, adding that he was applying for bail in respect of his clients in accordance with section 99 of the CPC and section 19 of the constitution.

He added that the accused persons were on bail, and that there was no indication that a single term of the conditions set had been breached.

He further stated that since the prosecutor did not object to their application for bail, the defence was urging the court to grant their application.

He added that the terms should be commensurate with the offences charged.

The prosecutor responded that the 8th accused person was not issued with a bench warrant, but he was in remand, adding that they went for the accused and, before their arrival, the court had risen.

Magistrate Baldeh said a bench warrant was not issued for the 8th accused person.

He subsequently granted the accused persons bail of D250,000 each with two Gambian sureties, who should each have a title deed within the Greater Banjul Area, and should also deposit their ID cards.

He said the previous bail granted to the accused persons earlier by Magistrate Cham would be maintained.

The case was adjourned until 8 December 2016, for hearing.

Author: Dawda Faye