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Former SG Sabally applies for bail

Nov 18, 2014, 10:24 AM | Article By: Halimatou Ceesay

The former Secretary General and Minister for Presidential Affairs, Momodou Sabally, through his counsel, Monday applied for bail at the Special Criminal Court in Banjul before Justice Amadi.

Sabally is facing an eight-count charge that includes economic crime, abuse of office, negligence and giving false information.

In his submission, senior defense counsel A .A. B Gaye said the motion of notice dated on 16 October 2014 in which the accused applied to be released on bail was supported by a 33-paragraph affidavit sworn to by the accused person’s wife, Mrs Jainaba Sarr, and filed on the same date.

He added that they are relying on all the 33 paragraphs of the affidavit.

There was an affidavit in opposition sworn to by Mam Fatou Secka, who described herself as a legal clerk at the Attorney General’s Chambers, counsel said.

“I apply to make the following submissions: that the offences charged are bailable offences and the affidavit in support of the application is that the accused has a good defence to the offences he is charged with,” counsel told the court.

It was his submission that the applicants’ right to bail could only be ascertained on a true consideration of the relevant procedure in the constitution and the Criminal Procedure Code, senior counsel Gaye added.

He further stated that in the constitution and the criminal procedure code there is a constitutional presumption in favour of bail.

According to counsel Gaye, the accused person was arrested on 7 July 2014, and escorted to the NIA headquarters in Banjul by two NIA officials, and since that date he had been in detention for 410 days, in two different places.

The applicant remained in NIA custody until 10 August without being charged, counsel Gaye said.

He further told the court that on 11 August 2014, the applicant was brought to court and was ordered to be remanded under NIA custody.

The trial judge adjourned the case from 11 to 14 October 2014 and there had been no intervening appearance in that period, he added.

According to counsel Gaye, it was clear that in a criminal matter when the court adjourns a case if the accused is on bail, CPC said it should be adjourned for 14 days ; but if the accused was in remand it could be adjourned for only a period of 7 days.

He said the applicant is a family man and when released on bail he would not abscond, as they are relying on all the paragraphs in the affidavit.

“I submit that the continued detention of the applicant will erode the constitutional guarantee of presuming innocent until proven guilty. I urge your worship to exercise discretion to allow the application and grant the applicant bail with a reasonable condition,” counsel said.

In response, DPP SH Barkhum said the accused was brought before the court on an 8-count charge dated 22 October 2014, which includes economic crimes, abuse of office, negligence and giving false information.

He said when convicted on economic crime, it carried a minimum of 10-year imprisonment while others carry sentences not higher than that.

He said economic crime is bailable, but the punishment should be put into consideration.

The applicant may run away if released on bail, the DPP said, adding that they are yet to conclude their investigations, and other charges can be brought against him.

According to the DPP, the sections cited by the defence in the constitution and CPC was for applying but not granting bail.

The DPP said that with or without the affidavit in opposition from the state, the discretion of the court is what matters.

“I urge the court to refuse the application,” he said.

The case was adjourned till 25 November 2014, at 3:30 pm, when the court is expected to rule on Sabally’s application for bail.