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Escapee US Prisoner's Trial Opens

May 16, 2008, 7:28 AM | Article By: By Modou Sanyang

The trial of one Christopher Badjie, who was alleged to have escaped while in lawful custody in the United States, opened on Tuesday before Principal Magistrate B.Y. Camara of the Banjul Magistrates Court. Badjie is being tried on 22 counts of criminal offences ranging from money laundering, transporting money, obtaining money by false pretence, escaping from lawful custody, forgery of official document, among others.

Testifying in the case, Prosecution Witness (PW)1, Mr Abdou Colley, a nurse, told the court that he was called by one of his cousins to meet the accused who claimed to be a Gambian but could not trace his family in The Gambia. He informed the court that one day the accused told him that it was not going to be easy to trace his family as he had been away for years." He added that the accused told him of his interest to start a business and he (Mr Colley) advised him to try rice, cement or building materials. "The accused asked me to assist him acquire a Gambian ID card and TIN number, which I did," he added.

Further testifying, PW1 told the court that he was invited to the NIA where he was asked whether he knew the accused and that he replied in the affirmative. "I was further asked whether I was given something by the accused to keep, which I admitted. I went with the officers to my residence to collect the safe," he adduced.

Also testifying, PW2 (name withheld) told the court that he was among the team that picked up the accused and took him to his residence where a search was conducted. He said that at NIA the safe was opened and documents such as two South African passports, two Gambian passports, a Gambian ID card, bearing different names but with the pictures of the accused, among others, were found.

The case was adjourned to 20th May for continuation.