#Article (Archive)

Former PS for Petroleum refused bail

Jun 26, 2015, 10:16 AM | Article By: Bakary Samateh

Principal Magistrate Momodou S. Jallow of the Banjul Magistrates’ Court yesterday refused bail to the former permanent secretary at the Ministry of Petroleum, Muntaga Sallah.

The trial magistrate also ruled that count three, which was abuse of office, be struck out for lack of sanction from the AG Chamber, as requested by the defence counsel.

Delivering the ruling, the trial magistrate stated that the accused, Muntaga Sallah, was arraigned before the court on Wednesday 24 June 2015 and charged with theft and abuse of office, which he denied.

He said the ruling was based on the bail application, and count three - abuse of office, which the defence counsel said could not stand if the consent or sanction was not accompanied with the charged sheet from the Attorney General’s Chambers.

The magistrate also pointed out that the defence counsel had said the value of the computers was not up to D1 million, and the items were also recovered.

“My client has been in detention for the past two weeks without any court order, and he fully cooperated with the investigation,” she had said.

The trial magistrate told the court that counsel said prior to his arrest and detention, the accused was working with the Ministry of Petroleum, and had risen to the position of the permanent secretary at a very tender age, and had never got disciplinary query in the civil service.

The defence counsel also told the court that her client was recently married with a 6-months-old baby, and was from a family dedicated to the service to the nation.

Counsel further said the charges before the court were “all bailable offences” in the eyes of the law and were “all misdemeanours”.

Still delivering the ruling, the trial magistrate told the court that the prosecutor, in his reply, revealed to the court that the investigation into the matter was not completed, and granting the accused person bail could put the prosecution’s case at risk.

The prosecutor further said that based on those grounds, if the accused person was granted bail he would interfere with the intended witnesses, whose head he was as PS.

The prosecutor also told the court that there was a tendency that if the accused person was granted bail he might pose a flight risk or jump bail.

The magistrate said after listening to the submission of both sides, the accused person should be granted bail as stated by the defence counsel but the prosecution’s application for objecting the bail to the accused person could not be ignored.

He said the prosecutor told the court that the investigation into the matter was not completed.

The potential witnesses of the prosecution are all from the Ministry of Petroleum, expected witnesses of whom the accused person headed, as stated by the prosecutor, he added.

He said the prosecutor further enlightened the court that the accused person posed a flight risk, which was a considerable factor before bail could be granted to the accused person.

Based on these factors, the accused person was refused bail.

He has all the right to appeal to the high court against the decision of the lower court, the magistrate added.

The case was adjourned until 8 July 2015, for hearing.