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Former Religious Affairs Perm. Sec Discharged

Sep 15, 2009, 5:53 AM | Article By: Bakary Samateh

The former Permanent Secretary at the Department of State for Religious Affairs, Mr. Alasana S.T. Jammeh was yesterday discharged by Magistrate Surahata Danso of the Banjul Magistrates' Court for "want of diligent prosecution".

In delivering the ruling, Magistrate Danso stated that the accused was first arraigned before the court on 4th May 2009, noting that the case has since then suffered from a series of adjournments.

According to him, for almost four months the prosecution has never called any single witness until on 7th September 2009, when the prosecution informed the court that they have witnesses to call.

 Magistrate Danso further stated that, the Defence Counsel Lamin Jobarteh raised an objection, saying that the prosecution had obtained an order from the previous Magistrate, Lamin George for them to bring the said public servant that the alleged false information was given.

 He added that, after carefully listening to the submissions of both the Defence Counsel and prosecution, the questions that came into mind for determination is whether he can review the order made by his seniors, or whether the court has jurisdiction to hear the matter afresh, and what does the decision of his senior entails in the order of May 2009.

Magistrate Danso in answer to those questions, said he had no jurisdiction to review his predecessor's decision, neither to move to hear the case afresh.

According to him, it's only possible to hear the matter afresh, if the prosecution withdraw the case and file afresh before the court.

He said "the only solution is for the prosecution to put their house in order before coming to the court which they failed to do".

He ruled that based on the above reasons the court is convinced that the prosecution had all the time in their possession to comply with the order of the court.

He said based on the above convincing reasons "I therefore discharged the accused person in accordance with Section 163(1) of the CPC Cap 12, Volume 3, Laws of the Gambia 1992."