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6 GRA officers charged with economic crime

Feb 27, 2014, 10:35 AM | Article By: Malamin L.M. Conteh

Six employees of the Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) were yesterday arraigned at the Special Criminal Court in Banjul before Justice Emmanuel Ahmadi, charged with economic crime, conspiracy to commit a felony, stealing by public servant and fraudulent false accounting.

The accused persons are Alieu B. Colley, Lamin K. Fofana, Fatou Phatty, Ebrima Cham, Saikou Ceesay and Mawya Jammeh; they all denied the charges.

However, at the time of reading the charges, the 5th accused person, Saikou Ceesay, was absent in court, and his plea could not be taken.

The state prosecutors in count one stated that between February 2012 and July 2013 in Banjul, while being employees of the Gambia Revenue Authority, they diverted the sum of D2,637,212.77 being monies received from taxpayers, into their private use, an act which was detrimental to the economy of The Gambia, and thereby committed an offence.

Count two stated that they corruptly and dishonestly diverted the said sum.

The six were further accused in count three of conspiring to defraud the Gambia` Revenue Authority of the stated sum.

Count four alleged that they stole the total sum of D2,637,212.77,  being monies received from taxpayers and belonging to the Gambia Revenue Authority.

Count five stated that Alieu B. Colley deleted the entries of payment made on the GAMTAXNET system to conceal a fraud, and thereby committed an offence.

Defence counsel Ms Sambou applied for bail on behalf of her client, submitting that the 3rd accused person, Fatou Phatty, had special circumstances, because she is a lactating mother with a child who is less than one year old.

She said the offences she was charged with are bailable, and also extended the application to all the accused persons, since they were not legally represented at the time.

The accused persons were then granted bail in the sum of D2 million each with a prominent surety who had landed property within the Greater Banjul Area. Their travel documents should be surrendered to the registrar of the High Court.

The case at that juncture was adjourned till 6 March 2014, for continuation.