Two businessmen charged with conspiracy to defraud

Tuesday, November 17, 2015
Two businessmen were yesterday charged with conspiracy to defraud, at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court before Magistrate Blessed.

Muhammed Kebbeh and Alhaji Ass John were also charged with obtaining money by false pretence, cheating and impersonation in general.

They denied any wrongdoing.

The state counsel, Lamin Jarju, then said they would like to call PW1 Karafa Keita, but the state was first applying for the court to adopt the evidence-in-chief of PW1, because the first accused person has not been attending the trial since the court had struck out the first charges.

However, defence counsel Sheriff Marie Tambedou said the matter was for mention, and that he had another matter at the High Court.

The trial magistrate then reminded the court that since the matter was the first appearance of the first accused person, it would be appropriate to grant him bail.

The state counsel raised an objection for bail for the first accused person, arguing that the state was reliably informed that the accused person had already booked a flight to travel out of the country, and that the prosecution had suffered a lot to secure the appearance of the accused person.

The case had been proceeding for long without the presence of the accused person, he pointed out, but said bail was at the discretion of the court.

If the court was minded to grant bail to the accused person, he said, the bail conditions must be stiff, for security reasons.

The defence counsel, in response, told the court that this was a court of record, and what the state counsel was saying was not indicated anywhere in the records.

He said the accused person has nowhere to go because he has family and children in the country.

He said the accused person was once a nominated member of the National Assembly and is the Honorary Consul for the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

Delivery his ruling, the trial magistrate said the court would give him the benefit of the doubt and grant him bail on the following conditions: The accused person was granted bail of D700,000 with two Gambian sureties one of whom must have landed property within the Greater Banjul Area.

The bail conditions further stipulated that the accused person should surrender all his travel documents to the registrar of the court.

According to the bill of indictment presented before the court, Mohammed Kebbeh and Alhaji Ass John, in the name of Universal Trade Company Ltd, entered into an agreement with Sundiata Trading Company Ltd on 20 November 2000, at Banjul, and conspired to defraud and obtained D500,000 from Sundiata Trading Company Ltd through one Karafa Keita.

Muhammed Kebbeh and Alhaji Ass John were also accused that in the name of Universal Trading Company Ltd, entered into an agreement with Sundiata Trading Company Ltd sometime in November and December 2000, at Banjul, and with intent to deceive, obtained D500,000 from Sundiata Trading Company Ltd through one Karafa Keita by falsely pretending that they had groundnuts for sale, which representation they knew to be false.

Kebbeh and John were further accused that in the name of Universal Trading Company Ltd, between November and December 2000, at Banjul, with intent to deceive, they obtained D500,000 from Sundiata Trading Company Ltd through one Karafa Keita, by the fraudulent trick that they had groundnuts for sale, which representation they knew to be false.

It was also alleged that Mohammed Kebbeh and Alhaji Ass John, in the name of Universal Trade Company Ltd, entered into an agreement with Sundiata Trading Company Ltd, in the year 2000, at Banjul, with intent to defraud Sundiata Trading Company through one Karafa Keita, obtained D500,000, by representing that they had the authority to trade in the name of Universal Trading Ltd, which representation they knew to be false.

Alhaji Ass John was alleged to have sometime in 2000, at Banjul, with intent to defraud, obtained D500,000 from Sundiata Trading Company Ltd through one Karafa Keita by representing that he was the director of Universal Trading Company Ltd, which representation he knew to be false.

The case was adjourned for hearing today. 

Author: Bakary Samateh