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Banyaka alkalo, others convicted

Feb 13, 2015, 11:20 AM | Article By: Yai Dibba

Malick Camara, the Alkalo of Banyaka village, and one Ousman Touray were Thursday convicted and sentenced by Magistrate O. Cham of the Brikama Magistrates’ Court after they pleaded guilty to attempting to commit a misdemeanour and obtaining money by false pretence.

According to the facts narrated by the police prosecutor, Chief Inspect Fadera, it happened some time in 2004, when the Tamba Kunda Kabilo of Tujereng village had a vast area of land between Old Banyaka and Tujereng village in Kombo South, West Coast Region.

The said Kabilo, having been impressed by President Yahya Jammeh’s farming activities and his commitment, decided to give him some part of their land measuring 700 x 400 meters and an additional land measuring 700 x 250 meters.

According to him, having given this land to the President, they issued him the document of land ownership, which was signed by the Alkalo of Tujereng village and the Chief of Kombo South.

After some couple of years, the said land was encroached on by Malick Camara, the Alkalo of Banyaka village, and Ousman Bojang of Tujreng village and other people as well.

The said land was demarcated and was sold to Tapha Kanyi, Pierre Njai and Malick Jatta, he said, adding that this came to the notice of the owner of the land, President Jammeh.

He reported the matter to Sanyang Police Station, and the accused persons were arrested.

At that juncture, the police prosecutor, Chief Inspector Fadera, applied to tender the transfer of the land document before the court as an exhibit.

However, the convicted alkalo of Banyaka village, Malick Camara, objected on the grounds that he was not aware of any transfer of land ownership to President Jammeh in 2004.

His objection was overruled, and the transfers of land ownership in 2004 and 2009 were admitted as exhibits before the court

According to the prosecutor, after arresting the two accused persons, an investigation was mounted and the two accused persons assisted the police in their investigation.

In their mitigation plea, the two accused persons begged the court to temper justice with mercy, as they are first offenders and they are elderly men and breadwinners of their family.

Defence counsel Lamin S. Camara told the court that he was not in the court at the time of mentioning the matter, and the mitigation plea given by the accused persons.

He appealed to the court to exercise all its power to fine the accused persons instead of imposing a custodial sentence, as they pleaded guilty without wasting the court’s time.

Passing the sentence, the presiding magistrate told the court that he heard both parties and the court also considered the mitigation pleas of the two accused persons, as they are elderly men and the breadwinners of their family.

They are first-time offenders and they did not wasted the court’s time, and the prospector stated in his facts that the two accused persons helped the police during the investigation, he said.

He convicted and sentenced Malick Camara to a fine of D6,000 on both counts 1 and 2, in default to serve 1 year imprisonmemt and Ousman Bojang was fined D30,000 on both counts 1 and 2, in default to serve 1 year imprisonment with hard labour.

Both sentences are to run concurrently.

Meanwhile, Malick Camara is also facing another charge of neglect of official duty, which he denied.

The other accused persons are Ousman Touray, Karamo Touray, Satou Sillameh, Momodou Bayo, Momodou Lamin Jabang, Kutubo Fatty Edrisa Touray, Momodou Fatty and Yankuba Jabang, who all denied the charges and were granted court bail of D1 million each with two Gambian sureties.

Their case was adjourned to 2 March 2015, for hearing.