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2 foreign nationals sentenced

Dec 24, 2014, 10:20 AM | Article By: Bakary Samateh

Two foreign nationals, Seth Yaw Kandeh and Olufemi Erinle Titus, Nigerian and Ghanaian respectively, were yesterday convicted and sentenced to a fine of D200,000 each in default to serve four years in prison.

This was after they pleaded guilty to counts 1, 2, 3 and 4 before Magistrate Samsideen Conteh of the Banjul Magistrates’ Court.

The first accused person, Sait Matty Jaw, who was granted bail by the High Court of The Gambia, still maintained his plea of not guilty to all the counts.

Narrating the facts before the court, state counsel Abdouraham Bah said it happened in May 2014, while the 2nd and 3rd accused were about to conduct a survey for Facts International, a Ghanaian company, which engaged them for data collection. They met someone who linked them to the 1st accused person to carry out the survey.

He said Facts International awarded them a contract to conduct the survey in many West African countries, including The Gambia.

In November 2014, the 2nd and 3rd accused persons arrived in The Gambia to conduct the survey as part of the contract, and the first accused person, who is a lecturer at the UTG, hired students at UTG to help them to conduct the survey across the country.

As a result, the 1st and 2nd accused person conducted a training workshop for the students on data collection, and armed them with 42 questions and questionnaires. Arrangements were made for the said students to start, and they disregarded the requirements of the law in doing that.

On 5 November 2014, the third and second accused persons were arrested by agents of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) in connection with the said survey.

In their plea of mitigation, defence counsel LK Mboge told the court the offence committed is a misdemeanour, not a felony.

He said the accused persons had shown sufficient remorse for their own mistake, and had already registered their business within the short time.

He, therefore, urged the court not to impose a custodial sentence on them.

Delivering the verdict, the trial magistrate told the court that the two accused persons have changed their plea to guilty, without wasting the court’s time.

Defence counsel told the court that the accused persons are first-time offenders in the eyes of the law.

The accused persons have shown sufficient remorse and the court would, therefore, temper justice with mercy by not imposing a custodial sentence on the accused persons, the magistrate announced.