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Former SSHFC MD bail application fails

Jan 19, 2011, 11:39 AM | Article By: Bakary Samateh

The Banjul Magistrates’ Court yesterday ruled that Edward Graham, the former Managing Director of Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation (SSHFC) will continue to be remanded in custody pending the completion of investigations and determination of the case.

The court further ordered the state to expedite and conclude investigations into the matter within a reasonable time.

It added that upon completion of investigations, the matter would be heard on a day-to-day basis, and that there shall be no further order.

Magistrate Nkea in his ruling told the court that, when the matter came up on 17 January 2011, Simeon Abi, state counsel, appearing for the state, intimated to the court that they were not ready to proceed, because investigation into the matter had not been completed.

Mrs A. Bensouda, counsel for defence, opposed this position and submitted that because the state had failed to comply with the order above, the accused person should be granted bail, as his continuing detention would be unconstitutional and unjustifiable.

“I agreed with the defence counsel, Amie Bensouda, that the state has not complied with the order for accelerated investigations into the matter, “ he added.

However, to settle the issue of bail, as has been argued by both sides, I find it expedient to repeat for the sake of emphasis the order that the accused person shall be remanded in custody pending the outcome of the investigation and determination of the case.

“The reasons for my orders are well stated in my ruling of the 6th January 2011 instant, and I see no reason to repeat them here.” He   continued: “However, in asserting that investigations are still ongoing, the state did not indicate how soon they intend to complete such investigations. I think this will be prejudicial to the fair trial right of the accused person to a quick trial.

“However, I am persuaded by the fact that the investigations have been prolonged due to the discovery of fresh evidence. While I agree that justice delayed is justice denied, it is, however, important to note that justice should not be sacrificed on the alta of expediency,” the magistrate added.

The case was adjourned to 27th January 2011.