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Ousman Badjie gets D10M bail bond, faces more charges

Dec 11, 2014, 9:54 AM | Article By: Halimatou Ceesay

The Banjul High Court yesterday granted former Minister of Works Ousman Badjie bail of D10 million with two Gambian sureties each in the sum of D5,000,000.

Each surety shall be the owner of a landed property within the Greater Banjul Area whose value is not less than D5,000,000 and must swear to an affidavit of means.

The bail conditions further stated that each surety shall deposit with the registrar of the high court the original title deeds of the property together with a valuation report on the property issued by an officer from the Lands department or any other government-recognized estate valuation firm on a date not earlier than the date of this order.

The registrar of the high court shall verify and under his or her hand, approve the title deeds and valuation reports deposited by the sureties before the release of the applicant from custody.

The applicant shall deposit his Gambian international passport and any other travel documents he possesses with the registrar of the high court pending the hearing and determination of the case against him.

The applicant shall report to the Gambia police force at the Brusubi police station every Monday and Friday, until the final determination of the case now pending against him in the high court.

When the case was called, the trial Judge, Justice Abi, asked the DPP if they had filed the indictment.

The DPP said he had filed the indictment dated 9 December 2014, with the charges, summary of evidence, exhibits, list of witnesses and witness statements.

Defence counsel LS Camara said he was not yet served with the indictment filed, and did not see the exhibits, summary of evidence, and list of witnesses.

Delivering the ruling on the bail application, Justice Abi said the defence affidavit in support of summons contained a 22-paragraph sworn to by the wife of the accused person, Mrs Aisha Badjie.

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

It also stated that the applicant has served the Gambia government for many years as outstanding citizen with dignity and integrity, and in various capacities such as Minister of 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, and the charges preferred against the applicant are bailable offences.

The affidavit also stated that the applicant has no criminal record before, and he was not likely to interfere with investigations.

The applicant would not jump bail, and would at all times present himself to this court or any other court, and was entitled to bail and the court has the jurisdiction to grant the application.

According to the judge, the affidavit in opposition by the DPP stated that the investigations into the other aspects of the applicant’s activities are still ongoing, and that other charges could also be brought against the applicant.

The 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 applicant had indicated that he has people ready and willing to stand as surety, and would fulfill any condition that would be imposed by the court, according to the judge.

This was not disputed by the state/respondent, but the respondent fears that the applicant would jump bail because of the severity of the charges.

The state respondent did not dispute the fact that the applicant is a family man with four children as alleged in paragraph 8 of the affidavit in support, and has not given any reason why they suppose that the applicant would jump bail except for the “severity” of the charge and punishment, he added.

“It is my view that the fear of jumping bail in this case is unfounded,” the judge declared.

On the issue of possible additional charges to be brought against the applicant, the court could not speculate on what was not before it, he went on.

He then granted the applicant bail on the above-mentioned conditions and terms.

The particulars of offence stated that Ousman Badjie between 14 to 30 June 2014, in the Gambian Embassy in Paris and diverse places in The Gambia, as the Gambia head of mission in France, owing to his willful negligence caused economic loss to the government of the Gambia to tune of 27,500 Euros being monies paid by Societe Generale Agence Central Provlvead Haussmann Paris 75009 without authorization to Faisal Bojang, the former Gambian financial attaché to the Gambia embassy in Paris, France.

count two stated that on the same dates and at the same place, owing tohis negligence caused economic loss to the government of the Gambia to tune of 34,333,00 Euros being the revenue collected but not deposited and other shortages caused by Faisal Bojang, the former finance attaché’ to the Gambia embassy in Paris France.

In count three, he was alleged to have willfully neglected to perform his duty to follow up with the Societe Generale Agence Centrale Provlvead Haussmann Paris 750099 to recover the sum of 27, 500 Euros being the monies paid without authorization to Faisal Bojang.

In count four, Badjie was accused of willfully neglecting to perform his duty, consequent upon which Faisal Bojang caused shortages in the sum of 34,333 Euros in the Embassy account.

Count five alleged that Badjie willfully neglected to perform his duty to pursue the police declaration that the signature of the Deputy Head of Mission was forged, and thereby committed an offence.