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Indefinite adjournment for alleged judicial scam

Jan 25, 2010, 1:53 PM | Article By: Bakary Samateh

The trial of the six judicial officials: Justice Amina Saho-Ceesay, Justice Ngui Mboob–Janneh, Judicial Secretary Huruna Jaiteh, Alagie ML Sonko, Pa Modou Njie and Momodou Sonko was on Friday, 22 January 2010, adjourned sine die before Principal Magistrate Emmanuel Nkea of the Banjul Magistrates' Court.

When the case was called, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Richard N Chenge, told the court that the state is once again applying for a week adjournment to allow them time to put their house in order.

Magistrate Emmanuel Nkea threatened to discharge the accused persons until at a time when the state is ready to proceed with their case.

According to him, the case had suffered so many setbacks and, consequently, he adjourned the case indefinitely.

The DPP, however, argued that discharging the accused persons would be an embarrassment, as they would be subjected to re-arrest. He added that he was, therefore, applying for the case to be adjourned indefinitely.

He told court that the prosecution has a lot to do with regards to the auditor's report which, as he put it, "is a very lengthy report" and they need time to work on it.

He submitted that the prosecution is making consultations with their superiors as to how soon they would prefer the charges against some accused persons who may be involved in the scam.

Antouman Gaye, the leading defence counsel, told the court that the accused persons have been attending court regularly without their case proceeding, for nearly three months. He said if the state has nothing against the accused persons then the court should discharge them.

According to lawyer Gaye, his client is pregnant and is causing her inconvenience to be going and coming without any progress in the case. He therefore urged the court not to subscribe to such adjournment.

The six accused including senior judicial officials are standing trial on charges of stealing by clerk or servant between 2005 and 2009 at the Sheriff's Division of the High Court in Banjul.

They are alleged to have stolen monies as follows: Justice Amina Saho-cceasy was alleged to have stolen D2 million dalasi and $1000, Justice Ngui Mboob - Janneh D803, 000 and 900 pounds sterling, Judicial Secretary Haruna Jaiteh - D1, 017 ,000, Alagie Sonko D1, 215, 000 and 900 pounds sterling , Pa Modou Njie alleged stole $1000 and Momodou L Sonko  900 pounds sterling.