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Judgment set in former NDEA top brass case

May 7, 2012, 1:21 PM | Article By: Malamin Conteh

The Special Criminal Court presided over by Justice Emmanuel Nkea will on Wednesday 16th May deliver its judgment in the criminal trial involving Ibrahim Bun Sanneh, former executive director of the National Drug Enforcement Agency, and four others.

The other accused persons are Karamo Bojang, former deputy director of the agency, Ousman Sanneh, former operations commander of the agency, Seedy Bojang, former accountant of the agency, and one Marie Sanneh.

The development followed the final argument made by both the defence and state, during Friday’s proceedings in the case at the Special Criminal Court in Banjul.

First to address the court was lawyer L.K. Mboge, who submitted that count 16 was the first charge against his client, which was conspiracy.

He submitted further that for this count to stand, the prosecution needed to adduce evidence to show that the 5th accused had conspired with the 1st accused, and they also needed to prove that the vehicle used for the transportation of the sugar was the property of the Gambia government.

Counsel Mboge further submitted that the only witness called to substantiate this charge was Alieu Sanneh, PW11, who claimed to have paid D21,500, to the 5th accused, but did not produce any receipt to support his claim.

He said the witness never mentioned any conspiracy, stating that count 17 and 18 were all the same and therefore, the same argument applies.

He argued that count 19 was economic crime, as well as count 27, and there was evidence that the 5th accused received D140,000 from the 4th accused, Marie Sanneh.

He said there was also evidence that the 5th accused had paid back the money to the 4th accused, adding that exhibit 5 had shown that the 5th accused had paid the money to the 4th accused in the sum of D140,000.

Counsel submitted that, therefore, count 27 could not stand, adding that count 29 was making document without authority, and that there was no evidence before the court that the 4th accused only received D70,000 adding that there was expert opinion before the court with regard to that.

He submitted that the testimony before the court had indicated that the 5th accused was an innocent man standing trial before the court.

Also addressing the court was defence Kebbba Sanyang, who noted that his clients were charged with conspiracy, stealing and drug-related issues, among others.

He said there was no evidence laid before court to show that the 1st, 2nd and the 3rd accused, conspired and stole the alleged sum of money.

Counsel argued that the only evidence which aimed at tainting the 2nd accused, was the evidence laid by PW3, Ousman Jatta, whose sole aim was to hook the 2nd accused, because his plea for the release of his wife and his nephew was turned down by the 2nd accused, Karamo Bojang.

He added that after the testimony of PW3 against his clients, the state withdrew the case against the wife and the nephew of PW3, at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court.

Counsel stated that the evidence of Ousman Jatta should not be believed, because Ousman Jatta alleged that his source of cocaine was the 2nd  accused, submitting that after 10 months of the 2nd accused person’s detention, Ousman Jatta was caught with cocaine, arrested, prosecuted, convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

He further submitted that the evidence of Manjang Janko, Saikouba Jammeh and Ebrima Jawara, was not reliable, adding that the evidence of the prosecution witnesses was full of doubts, and that in any criminal trial the benefit of doubt should be given to the accused person.

He added that the prosecution had failed to prove their case beyond any reasonable doubt, urging the court to acquit and discharge the accused persons.

In his address, the Director of Public Prosecutions, SH Barkun, submitted that the accused persons were standing trial for the offences related to drugs, firearms, abuse of office, stealing, among others.

 He added that the prosecution called 17 witnesses in support of their case, who made reference to the accused persons, further stating that they are relying on all the evidence of the prosecution witnesses because they are relevant to the charges against the accused person.

 He urged the court to convict the accused persons accordingly.

The case at that juncture was adjourned till 16 May 2012 at 11 am, for judgment.