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Former GEAPP coordinator back in court

Jul 24, 2013, 11:50 AM | Article By: Malamin L.M. Conteh

The former project coordinator of the Gambia Agricultural Emergency Production Project, Sheikh Tijan Sosseh, yesterday reappeared before the Special Criminal Court in Banjul, but his case could not proceed.

Sosseh, who until his indictment was the project coordinator of the West African Agricultural Productivity Programme (WAAPP), was charged with three counts including economic crime and neglect of official duties.

When the case was called in court, the lead defence counsel, Antouman Gaye, together with L.S. Camara, announced their representation for the accused, Sheikh Tijan Sosseh, while state counsel K. Touray announced her representation for the state.

Senior counsel Gaye then informed the court that there were two issues in the case, and the first issue was about the charge sheet, stating that this was not a magistrate court, but the high court.

“My lord there is no information before the court,” he said, pointing out some of the missing information, stating that among them are the summary of evidence, witness statements, list of witnesses, and list of exhibits.

He said the second issue was about the bail application they filed yesterday.

In her response, the state counsel told the court that her instruction was for the accused person not to take his plea.

“We need time to file a motion regarding bail,” she said.

She then applied for an adjournment, which was granted.

The case was then adjourned to 25 July 2013, for hearing on the bail application and to allow the state to file a proper indictment.

The court then ordered that the accused person be remanded at the State Central Prisons Mile 2. 

The bill of indictment filed against him stated in count one that Sheikh Tijan Sosseh, while employed as the project coordinator of GEAPP failed and or omitted to fully apply the €5.3 million agricultural grants from the European Union through the World Bank, and thereby caused the return to the World Bank of the sum of $67,489.20, which omission was detrimental to the Gambian economy and the welfare of the people of The Gambia.

On count two, prosecutors accused Sheikh Tijan Sosseh of neglecting to effectively supervise the construction and rehabilitation of the Seed Multiplication Center at Chamen village in the North Bank Region, while employed in the public service of The Gambia as the project coordinator of GEAPP.

On count three, Sheikh Tijan Sosseh is accused of recklessly paying the sum of D15, 895, 152.25 to general procurement services in spite of the shoddy construction and rehabilitation works at the Chamen Seed Multiplication Centre in the North Bank Region and thereby caused economic loses to public bodies in The Gambia to wit, the Ministry of Agriculture and GEAPP.