Judge revokes agric deputy permanent secretary’s bail

Friday, June 30, 2017

Justice Zainab Jawara Alami of the High Court in Banjul yesterday revoked bail granted to Hassan Jallow, deputy permanent secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture.

The trial decision came following an application made by state counsel L. Jarjue for the revocation of the accused person’s bail.

The accused persons, Hassan Jallow, Ebrima Jawara, Dr Alasan Bah and Sulayman Manneh are standing trial on multiple charges, including 13 counts of economic crime, 5 counts of abuse of office, 6 counts of neglect of official duty, 3 counts of stealing and 1 count of disobedience of statutory duty.

When the case was called, State Counsel Jarjue informed the court that the first prosecution witness, Yerro Saidy, was in court and the State was ready to proceed.

He said the accused persons are facing felony charges, as a result, the case could not proceed in the absence of the 4th accused.

He further submitted that both the 4th accused, Hassan Jallow, and his counsel have never appeared in the case since December 2016.

He was not aware of any letter explaining the reason for the absence of the 4th accused, he said.

State counsel Jarju subsequently applied for the revocation of Hassan Jallow’s bail and be arrested and remanded in Mile 2.

He stated that the records showed that this was not the first time he was making such an application in respect to Mr Jallow, as the records would show that a similar application was made when Justice Dada presided over the case.

Lawyer M. Drammeh, counsel for Ebrima Jawara, made an application for the case to be struck out for lack of diligent prosecution and for the accused persons to be acquitted and discharged.

He informed the court that the case had been adjourned many times at the request of the State, adding that on the last adjourned date, the State wrote to the court seeking an adjournment to enable them complete their review of the case.

Lawyer Drammeh said the State has not informed the court on the outcome of their review but were merely engaged in delaying tactics.

He pointed out that not once in all the proceedings in 2017 did the State make any effort to have the 4th accused present in court.

Counsel Drammeh reminded the court that at the last adjourned date, the presiding judge had ruled that should the case not proceed due to the State, the court would be guided by the application made by defence counsel.

Lawyers H. Sisay Sabally and S. Gaye, both associated themselves with Counsel Drammeh’s application for the case to be struck out.

State Counsel Jarju, in response, informed the court that the adjournments were at the instance of the defence and not the State, adding that the defence was deliberately delaying the case.

H. Sisay Sabally took exception to L. Jarjue’s submission and informed the court that she has the facts of the proceedings of the case handy.

Lawyer H. Sisay Sabally informed the court that the case had been adjourned nine times at the instance of the State and twice at the instance of the defence.

 Hon Justice Jawara Alami, in her ruling, declared that the absence of the 4th accused from court on numerous occasions was a sign of his disregard for the court.

 She, therefore, revoked the bail and ordered that Hassan Jallow be arrested and remanded at Mile 2 Prisons.

Ebrima Jawara had served as permanent secretary at both the Office of the President and the Ministry of Agriculture.  Dr Alasan Bah is an ex-Project Coordinator of the Rural Finance Project.  Sulayman Manneh is an ex-Accountant of the Rural Finance Project, and Hassan Jallow is currently the deputy Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture.

The case was adjourned until 3, 7 and 8 August 2017, for continuation of hearing.

Author: Bruce Asemota