Feb 3, 2016, 10:15 AM
Principal magistrate Dayoh M. Small-Dago of the Brikama magistrates’ court Monday convicted and sentenced former Sifoe Alkalo Buba Demba to a fine of D500 and six months imprisonment.
Delivering his judgment, the magistrate said the accused was charged with one count of giving false information to a public servant.
The particulars of offence stated that the accused person, sometime in July 2013 at Sifoe village wrote a letter to the Office of the President, stating that the then minister of Local Government and Lands, Momodou Aki Bayo, terminated his position without the consent of the governor and chief of the West Coast Region, which information he knew to be false.
On 4 February 2013, the charge sheet was read to the accused and he pleaded not guilty, and the prosecution in proving their case called five witnesses and tendered exhibits, while the accused testified as a lone witness and tendered two exhibits.
“I have gone through all the evidence and I’m satisfied,” said the magistrate.
He said for the prosecution to prove their case, the following elements must be satisfied - that the accused give false information to a public servant; and the said information was false.
The accused was alleged to have written to the Office of the President that his alkaloship was terminated without the consent of the governor and chief of West Coast Region.
“It is not disputed that the accused indeed wrote a letter from his office to the Office of the President, which stated that he wrote to seek clarification as to his termination as the alkalo of Sifoe, as it was a surprise to him because he received a letter congratulating him for solving the dispute in Sifoe,” the magistrate said.
The evidence from the police was that they received a letter from the IGP’s office that the accused wrote a letter to the Office of the President, and during cross-examination the accused did not deny that he sent a letter to the Office of the President.
It is a trite law that facts that are not disputed are deemed fit to be accepted.
The second element the court needed to satisfy itself on was that the information in the exhibit was true or false, and if it was brought to the attention of the alkalo without the chief’s or governor’s consent.
It was not disputed that there was a dispute in Sifoe, when the accused became an alkalo, and it was also not disputed that a letter was sent to the then minister of Local Government and Lands to intervene in solving the dispute.
He said the exhibits show that there were a lot of problems in Sifoe, when the accused was in charge.
“I have referred myself to the letters sent to the governor and the chief of West Coast Region, which stated that the two should intervene in the matter,” said the magistrate.
He said he was satisfied that the chief of Kombo South knew about the issue and one exhibit stated that he relieves the alkalo of his position and appoint another alkalo from another Kabilo.
He said a letter of termination was also sent to the alkalo.
“I therefore hold for a fact that the chief and the governor both knew and consented to the accused person’s termination,” said the magistrate.
In his evidence, Momodou Aki Bayo said he was given directives to terminate the accused person’s position.
“It is beyond doubt that both the governor and chief knew about the termination, and the accused did not contradict that,” he added.
It is the law that the prosecution has to prove its case beyond all reasonable doubt, and did so, according to the magistrate.
The accused, in his plea of mitigation, asked the court to temper justice with mercy.
The magistrate said since the accused was a first-time offender and was remorseful throughout the trial, he will put that into consideration.