Jun 7, 2016, 11:46 AM
Justice M. Abdullahi of the Banjul High Court yesterday issued a bench warrant against Benedict Jammeh, former director-general of the National Drug Enforcement Agency (NDEA), for his failure to appear in court.
The arrest warrant further indicated that the accused, Benedict Jammeh, should be arrested at anytime and anywhere if seen.
Benedict Jammeh was arraigned alongside, Abdoulie Ceesay, former public relation officer of the agency, Foday Barry, former agency director of intelligence and investigation, and Yusupha Jatta, the agency former director of administration.
They face a 90-count charge, which includes economic crime, abuse of office, giving false information, false publication, false broadcasting, theft, fabricating evidence and negligence, among others,
This followed the DPP’s application for a bench warrant to be issued against Benedict Jammeh on the grounds that there was no reason for his absence, and his counsel did not give any explanation of the whereabouts of his client.
When the case was first called, the defence counsel, Badou S.M. Conteh, applied for a stand down of the case, on the grounds that the 1st accused, Benedict Jammeh, was not in court, but all the other accused persons were present in court.
The defence counsel’s application was upheld by the trial judge.
When the case was called again, the defence counsel this time applied for an adjournment, to enable him know the whereabouts of the 1st accused.
The DPP then rose and applied for a bench warrant, since there was no reason for the absence of the 1st accused.
In his ruling, Justice M. Abdullahi stated that the case was called and stood down, following the defence counsel’s application.
The case was recalled, and the 1st accused was still not show up in court, and his counsel did not inform the court of the reason(s) which led to the absence of Benedict Jammeh, he said.
“The case cannot proceed in the absence of the 1st accused,” said the judge, adding that the DPP applied for a bench warrant against the 1st accused person, Benedict Jammeh.
He consequently issued a bench warrant for Jammeh to be arrested anywhere and anytime, if sighted.
He also ordered that the warrant be sent to the police, and that if the 1st accused did not show up, the sureties shall be arrested.
The case was adjourned till 20 May 2013.