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Lt. Col Solo Bojang convicted for ‘abuse of office’

Apr 22, 2014, 9:13 AM | Article By: Halimatou Ceesay

The Brikama magistrates’ court Tuesday convicted and sentenced Lt. Colonel Solo Bojang to a fine of D50, 000 in default to serve one year in prison, for “abuse of office”.

The court also ordered the seized timber to be returned to the owner.

Delivering her judgment, the trial magistrate, AA Jagne, said the convict was charged with “abuse of office” which he denied, adding that the prosecution paraded six witnesses and tendered three exhibits, while the convict testified and called one witness.

She added that it was the prosecution’s contention that the accused seized the timber of PW1 as an executive order and, in 2012, Kalifa Saidy went back to Kanilai after the embargo was lifted, but the accused did not give him the go ahead, saying he was waiting for a presidential directive.

The burden to prove a case rests on the prosecution’s shoulder, the magistrate said, adding that in dealing with the issue, one must know who a public servant is.

She said both the prosecution and the accused agreed that he was a military officer.

The accused did not dispute that he seized logs, and because of an embargo, she added.The prosecution said the accused did not deny that he seized the logs, but insisted that it was an embargo that was preventing the importation of logs from Casamance, the magistrate continued.

She said the accused was deemed to prove that the embargo was an executive order and, because of this, he seized the logs, but the accused failed to prove that.

She added that both PW1 and PW4 stated that, in 2012, the embargo was lifted and they told the accused, but he said he was waiting for a presidential directive.

Therefore, the seizing was illegal and the accused person’s action was an unlawful arbitrary act, and he used official authority to seize the timber.

In his plea of mitigation, Solo said he is a Gambian and a family man with two wives and children.

He said it was not his intention to abuse his office, and begged the court for mercy.