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Former SSHFC MD applies for bail

Jan 6, 2011, 11:56 AM | Article By: Bakary Samateh

Principal Magistrate Emmanuel Nkea of the Banjul Magistrates’ Court is today expected to rule on the bail application made by lawyer Amie Bensouda on behalf of her client, Edward Graham.

Graham, the former Managing Director of the Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation in Banjul, is being tried on charges of economic crimes, which he has denied.

State counsel Abukarr Muhammed yesterday informed the court that the state had filed a motion, dated 5th January 2011, indicating the reason (s) the accused person should continue in remand custody until the end of the case.

Abukarr further informed the court that the defence had served the prosecution with an affidavit in opposition, just before the case resumed.

He added that in view of the nature of the affidavit, the state needed time to carefully study it.

However, the court urged him to move the motion, after granting him a 30-minute stand down to study the motion.

Muhammed subsequently informed the court that the state needs the medical report from health experts to confirm that the accused person is leaving for the UK for an eye operation.

He added that the accused person had not given any proper grounds as to why the court should believe him, and grant him bail.

He, therefore, urged the court not to grant the accused person bail, and to continue remanding him in custody.

In response, defense counsel Amie Bensunda informed the court that the state was supposed to file their motion, since on 31st December 2010, when the case was first mentioned.

It would be wrong for her client to continue to be remanded in custody until such time when the prosecution studied the affidavit.

Counsel Bensouda also told the court that it would be wrong for the court to adjourn the case, without granting the accused person bail.

She added that her client was charged with an economic crime, which is a bailable offence in the eyes of the law.

The state should treat the accused person as an innocent person until proven guilty by the court, counsel continued.

Noting that the only reason why the state was opposing bail for the accused person was fear that the accused person will jump bail, counsel Bensouda said this was a mere allegation.

The accused person has worked for the SSHFC for more than 20 years, without any problem, and he was dealing with millions of dalasis. Therefore, the state should treat him as an innocent person until proven guilty by the court, counsel went on.

The case was at this stage adjourned for ruling on the bail application today.