Aug 14, 2012, 12:55 PM
The Special Criminal Court in Banjul recently acquitted and discharged Chief Superintendent Lamin King Colley, a police officer attached to the Brikama license office, of all the charges.
However, his co-accused persons, Ousman Manjang and Abdou Willan, were convicted and sentenced to eight months imprisonment with hard labour on count one.
On count two, the convicts were fined D10,000 each and were further ordered to pay to the Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) the sum of D310,925, which would be broken in to equal halves of D155,462.5 each, in default they would serve another 4 years imprisonment with hard labour.
The sentences run consecutively.
They were said to have conspired to intentionally cause losses to the Gambia government and to have intentionally caused the losses by means of false declaration for vehicles licences and road tax certificates.
Delivering the judgment, Justice Emmanuel Nkea adduced that upon the information dated 26 July 2011, the accused persons herein were indicted on two counts of criminal offences.
On count one between 2010 and 2011, the accused persons conspired to intentionally cause losses to the government of the Gambia, and in count two the accused persons jointly intentionally caused losses to the government by means of false declaration of vehicle licences and road tax certificates.
He said the 2nd accused person admitted to both counts and was convicted as charged, while the first and the third accused persons both denied the charges.
The judge added that the prosecution led through six witnesses and tendered a host of exhibits in support of their case, adding that the summary of the prosecution case as elicited from the evidence of the six prosecution witnesses and exhibits tendered, was that some time in 2011, a panel was instituted to investigate into the issuance of forged vehicle licences and road tax discs.
He said this led to the arrest of the 2nd and3rd accused persons in the process, and they volunteered information linking the 1st accused in the scam whereby the 2nd and 3rd bypassed GRA payment points and made payment directly to the 1st accused, Lamin King Colley, who as the licensing officer in the West Coast Region would issue them with vehicle licences and road tax certificates, and as a result of this process, payments were not recorded in the GRA system.
Justice Nkea further pointed out that this incriminating information was contained in the cautionary and voluntary statements of the Ousman Manjang the 2nd accused person and Abdou Willan 3rd accused person, and that these statements were received in evidence as exhibits.
He said (PW1) Omar Sallah gave evidence of how he bypassed the GRA payment point, and made payment directly to the 1st accused, Lamin King Colley, from which the 1st accused gave him D3,000.
He said the conclusion he reached from the totality of the foregoing evidence adduced was that it was highly probable that the 2nd accused and 3rd accused persons, Ousman Manjang and Abdou Willan, ran a joint criminal network whereby faked or forged GRA documents, and receipts were presented to the unsuspecting licensing officers including the 1st accused upon which vehicle licences were unwittingly issue.
The net effect of the criminal enterprise of the 2nd and 3rd accused persons had been detrimental to the economy of the Gambia, in that they caused loss to GRA of the sum of D310,925, and this he shall hold as a fact, the judge said.
“I am satisfied that while the prosecution proved its case beyond all reasonable doubt against the 3rd accused person on both counts, they failed to do so against the 1st accused,” the Special Criminal Court judge said.
“I shall accordingly find the 3rd accused person, Abdou Willan, liable and convict him as charged on both counts,” he said.
“The 1st accused Lamin King Colley, was hereby acquitted and discharged on both counts,” he added.