Sep 12, 2014, 11:44 AM
The Banjul Magistrates Court, presided over by Senior
Magistrate Kayode, yesterday convicted and sentenced ex-Superintendent Manlafi
Sanyang to one year one month imprisonment.
Mr. Sanyang has been standing trial on charges of abuse of office and stealing. It was alleged that the convict, Manlafi Sanyang, while employed in the public service of the Gambia as Government Vehicles Controller in abuse of his office sold a motor vehicle registered BJL 4591A, being government property, without authorisation and also stole the sum of D75,000.00, being the proceeds from the sale of the said vehicle BJL 4591A.
In delivering his judgement Senior Magistrate Kayode said that the accused was before the court on charges of abuse of office and stealing. He added that in furtherance of their case the state prosecution called in four witnesses, while the defence called three witnesses. He noted that the charge before the court made reference to the above-mentioned vehicle.
Magistrate Kayode further stated that the case having come that far, it needed to be considered whether or not the prosecution had proven the guilt of the accused. He said that on the issue of the sale of a vehicle it was settled and agreed even by the convict that he had sold a vehicle to Alhagie Conteh and also collected the sum of D75,000, noting that all material time leading to the case, the convict was the Controller of Government Vehicles at State House. He added that the convict in his statement asked Abdoulie Kujabi to seek clearance from the President, pointing out that the convict contradicted himself when he said in his evidence that he did not seek clearance from anybody to sell the vehicle BJL 4591B because it is not a government vehicle. He said that in respect of the transfer of vehicle BJL 4591, the convict did not request for the transfer in his capacity as Manlafi Sanyang, but in his official capacity as Controller of Government Vehicles, adding that the address of the convict indicated on the transfer is Youth Wing State House. "In the particular circumstance of the present case," he added "there are unequivocal facts which point to the fact that the convict in fact compromised his office as Controller of Government vehicles. I conclude that the convict abused his office when he sold BJL 4591B which is the same as BJL 4591A without authorisation," he stated.
On the offence of stealing, Magistrate Kayode stated that the convict admitted selling the vehicle BJL 4591B and also collected the sum of D75,000.00, which he handed to Abdoulie Kujabi. He noted that there exists an evidential burden of proof on the convict to show that the vehicle sold belonged to Youth Development Enterprise, but that surprisingly the convict failed to discharge this evidential burden. He also said that there is no proof to show that the vehicle sold belonged to Abdoulie Kujabi, either as the general or special owner thereof. He said the fact that the convict said he handed over the proceeds to Abdoulie Kujabi is not a defence, adding that the proceeds of the sale of BJL 4591 was handed over to and received by the convict and that the said money also disappeared through the convict. He said an accused could be found guilty based on his own admission.