Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Yet again the trial of 14 Immigration Officers attached at the Gambia International Airport, two other civilians and a Gambia Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) Security Officer yesterday suffered another setback.
The case was first adjourned on 18th to 25th August 2009, due to the absence of the State Counsel, Marley Wood.
The case, which was expected to continue with the testimony of the first prosecution witness was called but could not proceed.
When the case was first called, the 8th accused Matida Camara, together with her Counsel were not in court. As a result, the State Counsel, Ahmed Abubacarr, applied for a bench warrant to be issued against the 8th accused.
Following that application, Lawyer Lamin Jobarteh, who is representing some of the co-accused persons notified the court that he met with the 8th accused person's Counsel, Assan Martin, who promised to be in court. He also gave as his opinion that traffic jam on the road might have been responsible for the absence of the 8th accused person.
Subsequently, he applied for 20 minutes' stand down, which was accordingly granted.
When the case was called for the second time, at a time when the 8th accused was in court, Lawyer Lamin Mboge, representing the 4th accused, Makumba Jamanka and the 7th accused, Kaddy Jammeh told the court that in observance of Section 163 of the Criminal Procedure Code, regarding an application he made on behalf of one of his client who was supposed to go for her medical treatment, but could not do so because of the case.
At that juncture, Magistrate Fred Forster adjourned the case to 3rd September 2009.
The eighteen accused persons, which include 14 Immigration Officers, according to the charge sheet, on count one states that "on or about the 3rd July 2009, at the Gambia International Airport, allegedly forged an international passport in order to dishonestly enable one Ebrima Bah to travel to the United States of America".
On count two, they are alleged to have conspired to commit official corruption.
In that the charge sheet states that, the accused being public officers employed in the public services of the Gambia, charged with the duties of screening passengers traveling at the Airport, conspired among themselves and others still at large, to corruptly receive a bribery of ten thousand and five hundred Dalasi (D10, 500) from one Cherno Bah in order to enable his brother Ebrima Bah dishonestly use a forged passport to travel to U.S.A.
Author: Yai Dibba & Binta Fatty