Dec 24, 2008, 3:22 AM
Seedy Jaiteh, ex-staff of Gamtel, was Monday handed a two-year mandatory jailed term with hard labour by the Special Criminal Court in Banjul, presided over Justice Emmanuel Nkea.
Jaiteh was convicted and sentenced after he was found liable for recklessly causing losses to the communication giant, Gamtel, to the tune of D11, 099,000.
According to the charge sheet on count one, between January 2009 and August 2010, the accused person, whilst in the employment of Gamtel, stole fuel coupons valued at D11, 099,000, the property of Gamtel.
And in count two, the accused person recklessly caused losses to the Gamtel in the sum of D11, 099,000.
Delivering the judgment, the trail judge adduced that the case of the prosecution was supported by the evidence of four witnesses, and twelve exhibits.
He said the summary of the prosecution’s case, as elicited from the evidence of four prosecution witnesses and the exhibits tendered, was that as the Human Resources Manager of Gamcel for the period of 2001 and 2010, the accused person was responsible for the acquisition and distribution of fuel to the end-users in the company.
In this regard, the accused person placed orders and made payments for the fuel coupons which were then distributed to the various end-users of Gamcel with the assistance of (PW1), Yaya Jobe, and (PW3), Musa Suso.
The judge said: “Having read the totality of the evidence adduced, and having also gone through the submission of both sides. I will proceed to deal with the charges one after the other, and in doing so I will state the position of the law on each offence.”
He pointed out that the burden to prove the case against the accused throughout the trial lies on the prosecution.
From the forgoing, it was obvious that the prosecution had failed to establish the first element of the offence under section 257 of the criminal code read together with section 245 of the same code, and equally they had failed to prove the charge under count one, and this he shall hold as a fact.
Still reading the judgment, he said from the evidence before the court, it was not disputed that the accused was a staff of Gamcel Company Ltd, and the court takes judicial notice of the fact that Gamcel is a subsidiary of Gamtel Company Ltd, which is a public corporation.
“Gamtel Company Ltd is therefore a public body pursuant to a section of the economic crimes specified offences,” he said, adding that Gamtel is a public body and the accused was a staff therein, and it follows that the accused was a public officer in terms of section of economic crimes specified offences Act.
“I am satisfied that the prosecution had successfully established that the accused was a public officer, but also Gamtel Company Ltd is a public body and these we shall hold as a facts,” he stated.
Justice Nkea further stated that the prosecution relied heavily on documentary evidence to establish the substance of the charge, and he had carefully gone through all the exhibits tendered in the case, and it was convincingly clear to him that the findings of the audit exercise contained in exhibit P8, are detail and consistent.
It takes into account all the representations of the accused person, and the accused was given several opportunities to challenge the progressive findings of the audit exercise.
“From the totality of the evidence adduced is that the accused was reckless in handling the fuel management process. In that he failed to put in place a dependable and reliable accounting mechanism on the fuel management process. The net effect of this reckless conduct is that the accused cannot account for the fuel coupons worth D11, 099,000”, he said.
“Therefore, it seems to me that this reckless conduct of the accused had caused loss to Gamtel company to the tune of D11,099,000, and this I shall hold as a fact,” the judge stated.
He said he was satisfied that the prosecution had proven the case in part, and while the prosecution had failed to prove the offence in count one beyond reasonable doubts, they succeeded in proving the offence in count two with the certainty required by the law.
He said he shall accordingly discharge and acquit the accused person on count one, but convicted him as charge count two.