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Ebrima Jawara refused bail

Sep 30, 2015, 10:09 AM | Article By: Halimatou Ceesay

The Banjul High Court presided over by Justice Mohammed Dan Azumi Balarabe yesterday refused Ebrima Jawara bail.

The Judge, however, granted bail to his co-accused, Dr Alasan Bah, in the sum of D10 million.

The accused persons Dr Alasan Bah, Ebrima Jawara, Sulayman Manneh, Lamin Fatajo and Momodou Lamin Mass, were on 7 September 2015, arraigned before Magistrate Fatou Darboe of the Banjul Magistrates’ Court.

They were arraigned on a ten-count charge ranging from economic crime, to stealing by clerk or servant, theft, and abuse of office, which they all denied.

The case was subsequently transferred to the high court for lack of jurisdiction.

In her submission for bail on behalf of Ebrima Jawara, senior defence counsel Ida Drammeh said the respondent in their affidavit stated that the offence “the accused are charged with is a serious offence” and he would abscond when released on bail. This was “baseless”, counsel argued.

“It is my submission that the court can ignore all the paragraphs in an undated affidavit in opposition because they did not answer any point of substance and the paragraph failed,” she said.

“It is my submission that the bail application is properly made and the court should exercise its discretion in favour of granting bail to the accused,” she said.

“It is my submission that the conditions ought to be reasonable; otherwise it will be as good as not granting bail,” she further said.

Also submitting on behalf of Dr Alasan Bah, senior defence counsel Hawa Sisay-Sabally said there was an application before the court brought under section 19(5), 24(3), 37 of the constitution and relying on section 8 of the economic crime Specify Offences Act.

She said the application was supported by an affidavit sworn to on 17 September 2015 and they were relying on all paragraphs.

Attached to the affidavit are exhibits A1 which is a charge sheet at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court filed by the police.

They had also filed an additional affidavit sworn to by Njameh Ndure and exhibit A2 which is a medical report from Sheikh Zayed Regional Eye Care Centre.

At the time of the applicant’s arrest he had already undergone surgery on one of his eyes “which is very crucial” in the case.

Counsel added that none of the paragraphs of the affidavit in support, additional affidavit or in reply had been denied by the respondent.

The applicant had made it a fact that he would not interfere with the potential witnesses or investigations, she continued.

In reply, A.M. Yusuph opposed the various bail application by defence counsel and urged the court to refuse the applicants bail, citing various provisions of the constitution, the Evidence Act and the CPC.

Delivering his ruling on the 2nd accused, Ebrima Jawara’s bail application, the trial judge said he had seen Ebrima Jawara as an ordinary citizen walking free like any other citizen who is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

He said as a permanent secretary and previous positions he had held, the applicant had a privilege circumstance in government and wielded influence and fame. As such, he could interfere with witnesses and investigations.

Therefore, he said, the bail of the applicant was hereby refused pending investigations into the case and subsequent trial.

He, therefore, called on the prosecution to hasten the procedure and arraign the accused within 14 days.

For Dr Alassan Bah, the trial judge said he did not subscribe to the prosecution’s assertion that the health condition of “the applicant is not a serious one”.

He said counsel for the applicant had said that even the slippers the applicant wore to court were borrowed by him from an inmate in prison, which the respondent did not deny.

He, therefore, ordered for the applicant to be remanded in a clinic in prison custody and to be escorted to Sheikh Zayed Regional Eye Care Centre.

He also granted bail to Alasan Bah in the sum of D10 million to be deposited in cash with the registrar of the high court, with a title deed, bank guarantee; and in the event that the applicant should abscond the said sum would be forfeited to the state.