Oct 27, 2014, 10:47 AM
The Banjul Magistrates' Court yesterday remanded in custody two Liberians for illegally entering The Gambia without a pass or permit, as well as four Senegalese and three Gambians for conspiracy to commit an offence.
James Wanyeh and Sampson Montgomery both Liberian nationals, were arraigned for illegal entry into The Gambia, whereas Amat Njie, Malick Faye, Alieu Jallow and Abdoulie Jallow, all Senegalese, as well as Modou Trawally, Wuyeh Njie and Ansumana Bojang, all Gambians, were in court for alleged conspiracy to commit an offence.
They all pleaded guilty to the charges, and were remanded at the State Central Prison Mile 2 pending the delivery of judgment on 13 June 2011.
The two Liberians were alleged to have on 29 May 2011 entered The Gambia using a canoe and arrived in Banjul without a pass or permit.
The four Senegalese and three Gambians were accused of conspiring and receiving $500 from a ship captain to transport the two Liberian nationals into The Gambia, which they knew or have reason to believe was illegal, on 29th May 2011.
Narrating the facts of the case before a crowded courtroom, cadet Inspector Manneh of the Police Prosecution Unit told the presiding magistrate Alagba that the two Liberians in May 2011 concealed among themselves in a vessel from Liberia.
"It was on the 28th May 2011 when the vessel was in the territory of The Gambia and the captain of the vessel alerted one of the accused persons and his crew who were at the time also fishing in Gambian waters," he added.
The vessel's captain then told the canoe captain to take the duo to The Gambia as they were coming from Liberia, and that he could not transport them to France, Manneh continued.
The ship's captain offered $500 to the boat's captain and his crew to bring the two Liberians to The Gambia, adding that the accused persons were eventually arrested at Banjul terminal, the moment the boat anchored.
After Manneh's narating, the 1st accused person, James Wanyeh, disputed what the police prosecutor narrated, and was subsequently ordered to tell the court what transpired.
James said he is a college student in Liberia, adding that on 24 May 2011 they boarded the vessel, and later reported themselves to the captain who asked about their destination.
"We told the captain that we are Liberian nationals, and we wanted to go to France and asked if he could take us there. The captain gave us food and water and a room in the vessel. We were fishing for three days, and he later negotiated with a small boat to take us back home to Liberia," James told the court.
He insisted that the ship's captain paid the boat captain $500 to take them back to Liberia, instead of The Gambia.
Among other things, James told the court how he later lost contact with the Gambians and Senegalese in Banjul, who told them 'here is Gambia', and their subsequent arrest at the Gambia Ports Authority premises.
He also explained how he was detained for two days at Tanji and then brought to police headquarters, and finally to the court, adding that at the Police Prosecution Unit they were told that they would call the Liberian embassy officials to come, but to no avail.
The second accused person associated himself with the comments made by his compatriot.