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Ousman Badjie appears at High Court for bail application

Dec 4, 2014, 10:16 AM | Article By: Halimatou Ceesay

Former Works and Transport Minister Ousman Badjie yesterday appeared before Justice Abi of the Banjul High Court for a bail application.

When the case was called, defence counsel LS Camara said they are dealing with the fundamental rights of the accused person, and that bail application could be done orally.

However, the judge said he wanted them to file their briefs within 48 hours, and adjourned the case till 10 December 2014, for ruling on the bail application.

The defence affidavit in support contained a 22-paragraph sworn to by the wife of the accused person, Mrs Aisha Badjie.

The affidavit stated that the applicant is charged with one count of economic crime and two counts of neglecting official duty.

It further stated that the applicant was arraigned before the Banjul Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday 18 November 2014 and pleaded not guilty to all counts, and that the case was subsequently transferred to the high court.

The affidavit stated that the applicant is a father of four children, and never had any problem with the law.

It also stated that the applicant has served the Gambia government for many years as an outstanding citizen with dignity and integrity, and in various capacities such as Minister of the Interior, Ambassador to Morocco, Ambassador to France and Minister of Works.

The affidavit further stated that the applicant would not interfere with witnesses if released on bail.

It added that investigation into the matter has since been concluded.

It also stated that the charges preferred against the applicant are bailable offences.

The affidavit further stated that the applicant has no previous criminal record and was not likely to interfere with the investigations.

The applicant would not jump bail, and would at all times present himself to this court or any other court.

The applicant is entitled to bail and the court has the jurisdiction to grant the application, the affidavit went on.

The applicant has people ready and willing to act as surety for him in the event that the court grants the application.

Unless the court orders the applicant’s release, he would continue to languish in detention until the end of the trial, and it was in the interest of justice that the application be granted, the affidavit concluded.

In response, the affidavit in opposition filed by the DPP and sworn to by one Ya Haddy Bah, a legal clerk at the AG’s Chambers and Ministry of Justice, stated that they have just got the case diary from the investigators and, upon perusal, there is strong and compelling prima facie evidence against the applicant.

It stated that the investigations into other aspects of the applicant’s activities are still ongoing.

Other charges could also be brought against the applicant, who was at one time Minister of the Interior, Minister of Works, Ambassador to Morocco, and Ambassador to France.

The state’s affidavit further stated that owing to the facts mentioned above, there is fear that the applicant would tamper with the investigations and interfere with the witnesses, if released on bail.

The prosecution is ready and willing to proceed with the case expeditiously, considering the gravity and nature of the offences the applicant is charged with.

“There is likelihood that the applicant will jump bail if his application is granted, and that it will be in the interest of justice to refuse the application,” it further stated.

The case continues today.