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Court to rule on Ex-NDEA director’s bail application today

Aug 17, 2012, 10:44 AM | Article By: Bakary Samateh

The lower court in Banjul presided over by Principal Magistrate Alagbe is today expected to rule on a bail application filed by defence counsel L. K Mobge on behalf of Mbye Njie, former director of operations at the National Drug Enforcement Agency (NDEA).

Njie is standing trial on a four-count charge, including official corruption and abuse of office.

When the case was called yesterday in a crowded courtroom, the defence counsel told the court that they have filed a bail application on behalf of the accused person, dated 14 August 2012.

He asserted that the motion contained a 15-paragraph affidavit, and that the application was based on the constitutional provision that no one shall be deprived of his or her liberty without being proven guilty by a competent court of law.

“No one shall be subjected to detention without any good reason or to be refused bail when the offences charged were bailable,” counsel asserted.

“The offences my client was charged with before the court were all bailable, and this court had made a sterling order that the investigation should to be completed within two weeks”, he stated.

The order further stipulated that upon the expiration of the two weeks, the accused person would be granted bail, and since 19 July 2012 up to now his client has been in custody which was unconstitutional, counsel added.

Lawyer Mboge added that the affidavit indicated that the accused person would comply with the bail conditions imposed to him by the court, with at least reasonable conditions not tantamount to denial of bail.

He said the motion made it clear that the accused person would not jump bail, and that the issue of bail was entirely at the discretion of the court.

Counsel added that there was an affidavit in opposition filed by  the state, and that the said  affidavit was second-hand information as it had been deposed to by one legal clerk from the AG’s Chambers.

He added that the DPP did not disclose to the court where he got his second-hand information, noting that the charge before the court was D20,000, for which the court could even stand down and  let his client send somebody to arranged for him the sum or his compound title deed, which is worth more than D1m to enter into self bail.

He then urged the court to grant the accused person bail, as his liberty was at stake since 19 July, when the alleged offence was bailable.

Responding to the defence counsel’s submission, the Director of Public Prosecutions, S.H Barkum, told the court that the state was opposing bail for the accused person.

He said with regards to the matter of the bail application, the court needed to exercise its discretion judicially and judiciously.

 “We submit that the application was erroneous”, he said, adding that the defence counsel argued that the sum involved was only D20,000. However, the prosecution was not concerned about the sum involved, but that for an officer of the calibre of the accused person to accept a bribe of D20,000 was a smear to the image of the whole NDEA administration.

 He added that what matter was whether the act was committed.

“ The government of The Gambia is zero tolerant on drug trafficking, and the accused was encouraging the trafficking of  prohibited drugs freely, which is serious,’’ he said.

 If the accused person was released on bail he would interfere with the prosecution witnesses, the DPP said, and urged the court to keep the accused person in custody.

The case was adjourned to today for ruling on the issue of granting bail.