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Judgment date set in former SG Njogu Bah and Co trial

Dec 6, 2013, 9:41 AM | Article By: Malamin L.M. Conteh

Dr. Njogu Bah the former Secretary General and Head of the Civil Service, the former Justice Minister, and the former Solicitor General will soon know their fate, after the Special Criminal Court yesterday set 17th December 2013 as the date it would deliver its judgment.

Dr Njogu Bah, Lamin Jobarteh and Pa Harry Jammeh respectively are facing trial on a three-count charge, which included conspiracy to carry out a lawful purpose by an unlawful means, giving false information to a public officer, and abuse of office, charges they all denied.

The latest development in the case followed the address made by the defence counsel for the accused persons, and the reply by the state prosecutors.

In his address to the court yesterday, defence counsel BS Touray told the court that “there is no witness who said the accused persons had given false information,’’ and called for the accused persons to be acquitted and discharged, as the state had failed to discharge the burden imposed on the prosecution.

Defence counsel LK Mboge also told the court that he wished to associate himself with the submission made by BS Touray, adding that the prosecution in this case had woefully failed to prove the charges leveled against the accused persons.

He said with respect to count 1, the prosecution had not led any evidence that the accused persons had conspired to remove Justice Wowo, a sitting judge, noting that the prosecution had tendered exhibit D2, which was the appointment letter of Justice Wowo.

Counsel argued that the letter was copied to the 3rd accused and the 2nd accused and was not even copied to the 1st accused, meaning it did not emanate from the office of the 3rd accused but instead from the Judicial Service Commission.

He added that exhibit G, was purported to shed light on the fact that there was no record of a directive for terminating the service of Joseph Wowo.

“This is conflicting with and contradicting exhibit D2,” counsel Mboge submitted.

Mboge argued that exhibit G was not conclusive, all it said was that there was no record in this office, submitting that the 3rd accused did not terminate the services of Joseph Wowo.

“Exhibit G cannot be relied upon by this court to establish the charges before the court, and there is no evidence before this court that the 3rd accused had given false information to the members of the Judicial Service Commission, that an executive directive had been issued for the termination of Justice Joseph Wowo,” he said.

None of the alleged offences had been established against the 3rd accused, he added, submitting further that the prosecution had failed to prove the guilt of the 3rd accused person.

 “There is no doubt that the prosecution has failed in proving their case,” he further submitted, adding that the accused persons had acted on instruction which was corroborated by the evidence before the court.

He too urged the court to acquit and discharge the 3rd accused person on all the counts.

Defence counsel E. Jah for his part also argued that the 2nd accused was acting in accordance with his duty, and there was no evidence before this court to prove otherwise.

Exhibit F1 and F2 are merely hearsay and are not admissible, he submitted, adding that the 2nd accused acted honestly and reasonably.

‘‘The 2nd accused had been a reliable witness before the court and his service history had shown that he had always carried out his duty with dignity and respect,’’ he added.

He therefore urged the court to acquit and discharge him, as evidence before the court had clearly shown that the prosecution had failed to prove their case.

In response, state counsel Simon Abi submitted that the evidence before the court, both oral and documentary, showed that the prosecution had proven their case beyond all reasonable doubt.

He urged the court to convict the accused persons as charged.

The case was adjourned to 17 December 2013, for judgment.