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Produce Benedict Jammeh or else, court tells sureties

May 21, 2013, 9:34 AM | Article By: Malamin L.M. Conteh

Justice M. Abdoulah of the Banjul High Court has given one week to sureties of the former director-general of the National Drug Enforcement Agency (NDEA), Benedict Jammeh, for him to be produced.

Failure to produce Mr Jammeh they must show why they should not forfeit the bail bond they signed.

Benedict Jammeh was arraigned at the Banjul High Court alongside Abdoulie Ceesay, former spokesperson of the NDEA, Yusupha Jatta, former director of administration at the agency, and Foday Barry, former director of investigation and intelligence at the agency.

They were arraigned under a 90-count charge which includes economic crime, abuse of office, theft, giving false information, making false broadcasting, making false publication, fabricating evidence and other charges.

When the case was announced, the DPP informed the court that on the last sitting, he made three applications, out of which two were granted; that is the issue of a bench warrant against the 1st accused, Benedict Jammeh, and for the police and the NIA to arrest the sureties if the 1st accused did not show up, to show why they should not forfeit the 1st accused’s bail bond they had executed.

He said they had still not heard anything.

The judge then asked the sureties to come forward, and they did identify themselves before the court.

Justice Abdullahi asked the defence counsel, Badou S.M. Conteh, about the whereabouts of the 1st accused and the counsel replied that he still had not known the whereabouts of his client.

At that juncture, the court revoked the 1st accused’s bail.

The sureties, Moses Jammeh and Ali Jammeh, also informed the court that they were not served with any summon; this was in response to the question asked by the judge whether they were served with summon.

The judge then sent in for the appearance of the Sheriff Division of the High Court, Buba Jawo, who also appeared and was asked whether he had served the sureties with the court summon.

The Sheriff Division head said he was not able to serve them physically; instead he informed them through a telephone call.

At that point the sureties were served immediately.

The court further asked the sureties whether they had executed that bail bond, and they replied that they had executed the bail bond for the 1st accused.

However they both made it categorically clear that they did not know the whereabouts of the 1st accused, Benedict Jammeh.

Defence counsel E. M. Sissoho announced his representation for Moses Jammeh, and asked the court for time for his client to search for the 1st accused, saying if they could not produce him they should tell the court why they should not forfeit the bail bond of the 1st accused.

The DPP again rose and informed the court that the sureties in their bail bond stated that if the court granted the 1st accused bail, they would produce him anytime he was needed by the court.

Asking for time was out of it, the DPP stated, saying they should instead give reason why they should not forfeit the bail bond.

“We are objecting to any application from the defence,” DPP submitted.

In his ruling, Justice Abdoullahi stated that he had confirmed that the sureties were not served with summon, and would therefore uphold the defence counsel’s application for time.

He then gave them seven days to search for the 1st accused.

The case was then adjourned till 28 May 2013.