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Fresh charges await Bun Sanneh & Co

May 5, 2010, 1:08 PM | Article By: Sainey M.K. Marenah

The twelve counts indictment against Ibrahim Bun Sanneh, former Executive Director of the National Drug Enforcement Agency, NDEA, and three others, yesterday continued before Justice Amadi at the High Court in Banjul.

Ibrahim Bun Sanneh, the former Deputy Director of the NDEA Karamo Bonjang, Ousman Sanneh, the former Director of Operations, and Marie Sanneh, are facing several charges, including conspiracy to commit felony, theft, aiding and abetting, theft by public servant, unlawful possession of firearms, and the concealment and destroying of evidence.

When the case was called, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Richard N Chenge, informed the court of the prosecution's intention to amend the charge sheet and file fresh charges against the accused persons.

DPP Chenge also applied for the name of the 5th accused person, one Alieu Samba, to be struck out, announcing that "the state wants to use him as a prosecution witness." 

"The prosecution wants to amend certain portions of the previous charge sheet, and to add additional charges," he further stated.

DPP Chenge urged the court to grant him a short adjournment in order to file the amended charge sheet.

The trial judge, Justice Amadi, granted his application for the 5th accused person's name to be struck out.

Defence counsel Kebba Sanyang announced his representation for all the accused persons, except the 4th accused, Marie Sanneh, who is being represented by defence counsel Pap Cheyassin Secka.

Defence counsel Kebba Sanyang told the court that he has filed a motion for bail, dated the 3rd of May 2010.

He added that the Director of Public Prosecutions, Richard Chenge was served with the motion.

In response, DPP Chenge said he was served with the motion on 3rd May 2010, but was quick to add that he was served at the late hours. Chenge added that he wants to amend the charges against the accused persons.

In arguing for bail on behalf of the accused persons, Defence counsel Sanyang argued that the constitution guarantees the right to liberty, citing relevant law authorities to back-up his submission.

Defence counsel Sanyang further submitted that the application for an adjournment was meant to expunge his motion, and is inconsistent with the protection and the rights of the accused persons as guaranteed by the constitution of The Gambia.

He then cited Section 99 of the Criminal Procedure Code to further support his submission, while further arguing that the prosecution has not advanced or given sufficient notice to the application of bail and, therefore, it is the duty of the court to hear the bail application.

The defence counsel urged the DPP to reply to the defence's submission, adding that there is a formal requirement for bail.

Defence counsel Pap Cheyassin Secka said he agreed with his learned colleague, and went further to quote Section 99 of the Criminal Procedure Code, which he read to convince the court.

PC Secka submitted that bail could be granted, except in the case that "if the accused is convicted he/she would be sentenced to death or life imprisonment." He submitted that in line with Section 19 of the constitution, they enjoyed the legal and constitutional presumption in their favour.

In response to the defence submissions, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Richard N Chenge, cited Section 99 of the CPC to back-up his submission, adding that granting bail is left to the discretion of the court, which decides whether to grant them bail or not.

The chief state prosecutor further cited Section 24 sub- Section 1(b) which, he said, provides for a fair hearing for both parties, adding that if the defence knows they would have done oral submission yesterday, then why file a formal bail application.

He urged the court to give time to the prosecution to reply to the defence counsel's submission.

Justice Emmanuel Amadi then urged the prosecution to reply before the next adjournment date, and subsequently adjourned the trial to Thursday 6th May 2010 at 1 pm.