Apr 8, 2015, 12:08 PM
Special Criminal Court in Banjul presided over by Justice O. Ottaba yesterday
denied bail to Sira Wally Ndow, former Petroleum Minister, Momodou O.S. Badjie,
GNPC Managing Director, and Nuha Touray, Secretary to Cabinet.
The applicants were represented by A. Samba, Y.H. Cox, I. Richards, and L.S. Camara whilst B. Jeng, A. Mendy and S.K Jobe appeared for the respondent.
Delivering his ruling, Justice O. Ottaba said the applicants filed an application seeking to release the applicants on bail pending any charge that would be brought against them.
He said submitting on behalf of Sira Wally Ndow-Njie, senior counsel Ida Drammeh said her client was unable to have access to medical attention.
She laid emphasis on paragraphs 8, 9, 10, and 11 which are the main grounds of her application relating to the medical condition of Sira Wally Ndow-Njie, and urged the court to grant the applicant bail.
Counsel Loubna Farage submitting on behalf of Nuha Touray associated herself with senior counsel Ida Drammeh’s submission.
Counsel L.S. Camara submitting on behalf of Momodou O.S. Badjie said the application was supported by a 25-paragraph affidavit with exhibits attached.
He said they rely on all the paragraphs and in particular paragraphs 4 to 25, adding that the applicant does not pose a “flight risk” since his documents are with the NIA.
He said with regards to the arguments contained in the affidavit in support on section 8 of Economic Crime Specify Offences Act, the court should exercise its discretion in favour of the applicant having regards to the fact that there was no counter affidavit of opposition.
“I want the court to take judicial notice of the following in exercising its discretion; that the matter was meant to be heard on 14 July and adjourned to 18, 21 and 27 July 2016 and that the applicant had been in custody since 22 June 2016 without a proper indictment before the court.
“In the circumstances, I enjoin your lordship not to free or quit and discharge him, but to grant him pre-trial liberty, that’s all we are asking for,” counsel added.
The trial judge further stated that by virtue of section 99 sub section 1 of the CPC, the court has the discretion to grant or refuse bail in view of the facts and circumstances of the case looking at the seriousness of the crime, nature of the offence, severity of the punishment, probability of the applicants committing the offence again, likelihood of charges being brought against them and the probability of the applicants interfering with the course of justice.
He added that it was a general rule that when a party failed to file a counter affidavit the facts in the affidavit in support was deemed admitted, but the court could look at the nature of the offence committed.
He said the mere fact that the respondent did not file a counter affidavit does not mean that they had conceded to the facts in the affidavit in support.
The trial judge adduced that the mere fact that the applicant is sick does not warrant the court to grant bail in favour of the applicant, as there are medical facilities in the prisons and the applicant could be given medical attention when the need arises.
He added that the applicants should place sufficient and convincing material before the court for the court to exercise its discretion in favour of the applicant.
Therefore, he added, the applicants have woefully failed to lay before the court sufficient and convincing material to warrant the court grant bail in their favour.
“I have examined and considered the submission made by both parties. I decline to grant bail to the applicants. I find and hold that the application lacks merit. The application is refused and hereby dismissed. I hereby ordered for the applicants to be remanded in investigative custody,” he said.