Nov 9, 2015, 11:46 AM
Acting-Principal Magistrate Alagba of the Banjul Magistrates’ Court yesterday adjourned the case involving five officials of the Ministry of Agriculture indefinitely.
The accused persons are Dr. Amadou Sowe and Abdourahman Jobe both permanent secretaries, Momodou Mbye Jabang, a project manager, Bakary L.O. Sonko, deputy director of Agriculture at Cape Point and Mustapha Jatta an accountant.
When the case was announced, the prosecuting officer, Superintendent Sainey Joof, rose and told the court that the prosecution was applying for an adjournment on the grounds that the investigation into the case was not completed, and that the case file was sent to Attorney General’s Chambers for legal advice.
He pointed out that the investigation into the case involves many institutions within the government, even though the prosecution thought the investigation was going to be completed within a short period.
However, the trial magistrate pointed out that the prosecution had not called any witness to commence the trial, since the case was mentioned, adding that any further adjournment by the court would not do justice to the accused persons.
He said discharging the accused persons does not mean the end of the case, as the prosecution could come back at any given time if they are ready to proceed with the case after the completion of their investigations.
Senior defence counsel Antouman A.B. Gaye, alongside lawyer L.S. Camara, also reminded the court that, on the last adjournment date, it made an order for the prosecution to complete their investigations, which the prosecution did not seem to have complied with.
Counsel Gaye added that the prosecution was always giving lame excuses to the court and, therefore, any further adjournment by the court would not do justice to the accused persons.
He added that since the case has not commenced proceedings, it would not be fair to the accused persons to grant a further adjournment, and that one alternative is for the court to adjourn the case sine die.
The trial magistrate subsequently adjourned the case sine die until such time the prosecution are ready to proceed with their case.
According to the alleged offences, between March and September 2010, at the Ministry of Agriculture at the Quadrangle in Banjul, by virtue of his position as project manager, the accused person, Momodou Mbye Jabang, fraudulently received on various occasions the total sum of D350,606 from the Gambia National Agricultural Investment Program (GNAIP) Fund.
The particulars of the offence against Dr. Amadou Sowe stated that in the same period and time, as the Permanent Secretary he fraudulently approved and received on various occasions the total sum of D314, 133.62 from the GNAIP fund.
Abdurrahman Jobe was alleged to have in the same period and time, as Permanent Secretary, fraudulently approved and received on various occasions the sum of D87, 400 from the GNAIP fund.
The particulars of offence further stated that Bakary L.O. Sonko in the same period and time, as deputy Director at Cape Point fraudulently received on various occasions the total sum of D303, 000 from the GNAIP fund.
While the particulars of offence for Mustapha Jatta stated that in the same period and time, as accountant he fraudulently received on various occasions the total sum of D69, 500 from the GNAIP fund.