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Defence makes no-case submission in Mambury Njie’s trial

Jun 24, 2014, 9:45 AM | Article By: Malamin LM Conteh

Lawyer LS Camara yesterday made a no-case-to-answer submission in the trial of former cabinet minister Mambury Njie, before Justice Makailou Abdulah of the high court in Banjul.

Njie is facing a two-count charge of economic crime and one count of negligence of duty.

Counsel Camara told the court that the law required the prosecution to prove their case beyond all reasonable doubt, and the prosecutor called two witnesses, Malick Sanyang and Abdoulie A Cham.

He added that neither Sanyang nor Cham gave cogent, credible and reliable evidence before the court to prove the accusations.

The defence counsel submitted that Malick Sanyang clearly and ambiguously told the court that the scope of their investigation was to find out three things: how Carrnagie Minerals came to The Gambia? How it was able to obtain a mining licence? And the relationship between Carnagie Minerals and the accused person.

Counsel said the scope of the investigation had nothing to do with count one, the charge of economic crime - which was about financial loss to the state - further stating that none of the counts gave a specific amount of the loss to the government of The Gambia.

He further submitted that what was lacking in the evidence of Cham was the total amount of royalties paid to the government, which had not been paid.

That was the only way the state could say there was a willful or reckless omission causing economic loss to the state, and that there was absolutely no figure before the court, counsel continued.

“There is no evidence from both prosecution witnesses that the accused was one time a minister of petroleum or permanent secretary for that ministry or even had administrative oversight for that ministry,” counsel further stated.

He submitted that the prosecution had failed to prove the ingredients of the offence, and the evidence adduced by the prosecution had been discredited such that no reasonable court would rely on it.

Moreover, the evidence called by the prosecution was manifestly unreliable, and the evidence of Cham had been totally discredited under cross-examination, counsel went on.

What was obvious before the court was that the evidence of both prosecution witnesses did not establish any link between the accused person to counts 1 and 2.

He then urged the court to acquit and discharge Mambury Njie.

In response, the deputy director of Special Litigation submitted that looking at the nature of the evidence before the court, the prosecution had made a prima facie case against the accused person, which required an explanation from the accused person.

The accused was the secretary general and was duty bound to advise the government, the prosecutor said.

Further submitting that the prosecution was entitled to rely on both direct and circumstantial evidence, he added that Sanyang testified and tendered documentary evidence before the court, which speak for themselves.

He said the accused person cannot deny being under obligation to advise on the issue of Carnagie Minerals.

Moreover, there was evidence that there were shipments of sand by Carnagie Minerals.

He said the evidence of Cham established the needed link to the accused, in addition to court exhibits which emanated from the office which was occupied by the accused.

The accused was sufficiently linked to the charge, and should enter his defence and explain, the prosecutor added, and urged the court to dismiss the no-case submission by the defence.

The case was adjourned to 3 July 2014, for ruling.