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State absence halts former minister Waa Juwara and Co trial

Feb 4, 2014, 9:28 AM | Article By: Bakary Samateh

The absence of state prosecutors yesterday halted the trial involving Lamin Waa Juwara, former Minister of Regional Administrations, Lands and Traditional Rulers and two others, at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court before Principal Magistrate Hilary Abeke

The other accused persons are Hamidou Jallow, Principal Lands and Evaluation Officer, at the said Ministry, and Tamsir Onasis Konteh, a local businessman.

The trial was supposed to continue with the cross-examination of the fourth prosecution witness, the Alkalo of Tanji village, but could not proceed due to the absence of the state prosecutor in the case.

At yesterday’s resumption of the trial, the defence counsel, Sheriff Marie Tambedou, told the court that the case was for the continuation of the cross-examination of the alkalo of Tanji village, Cherno Bojang, who was present in court.

The defence counsel further told the court that the state was there when the case was adjourned, and wonder why they were not in court.

Counsel further said that he would take the court’s decision if the court wants the case to be adjourned.

The trial magistrate said the state was absent, and the case could not proceed.

“In that light, the court will give the state the benefit of the doubt since they did not communicate to the court,” the magistrate said.

The case was then adjourned to 12 February 2014.

The particulars of offence indicated on count one state that Tamsir Onasis Konteh and Hamidou Jallow, in November 2011, in Banjul within the jurisdiction of the court, conspired to use forged documents to claim compensation in respect of Tanji Residential Layout and thereby committed an offence.

Count two stated that Tamsir Onasis Konteh, in November 2011, in Banjul within the jurisdiction of the court, made a document purported to be land title documents issued by the Alkalo of Tanji village in order to claim compensation in respect of plots acquired for Tanji Residential Layout, and thereby committed an offence.

Count three read that Tamsir Onasis Konteh, in November 2011, in Banjul within the jurisdiction of the court, knowingly and fraudulently uttered false documents in order to claim compensation in respect of the plots acquired for Tanji Residential Layout, and thereby committed an offence.

Count four stated that Tamsir Onasis Konteh, in November 2011, in Banjul within the jurisdiction of the court, with intent to defraud obtained D300, 000 from one Edward T.Sambou as consideration for a plot of land at Tanji Residential Layout with knowledge that the said plots were allocated to him under questionable circumstances, and thereby committed an offence

Count five disclosed that Hamidou Jallow, in November 2011, in Banjul within the jurisdiction of the court, being employed in the public service and in his capacity as Principal Lands and Evaluation Officer caused plots of land (Nos. C8 and C9) to be allocated as compensation to Tamsir Onasis Knoteh, with knowledge that the said plots were already allocated to Kanilai Family Farms and Mr. Basirou Sambou respectively, and with the knowledge that the said Tamsir Onasis Konteh was not qualified for any and thereby committed and offence

Count six stated that Hamidou Jallow, in November 2011, in Banjul within the jurisdiction of the court, being employed in the public service and in his capacity as Principal Lands and Evaluation Officer caused plots of land (Nos C8 and C9), to be allocated as compensation to Tamsir Onasis Konteh against the laid down procedure for the award of compensation, and thereby committed an offence.

Count seven read that Hamidou Jallow, in November 2011, in Banjul within jurisdiction of the court, being employed in the public service and his capacity as Principal Lands Evaluation Officer and in disobedience of the order of the Director of Lands caused compensation to be paid to Tamsir Onasis Konteh, and thereby committed an offence.

Count eight stated that Lamin Waa Juwara, in November 2011, in Banjul within the jurisdiction of the court, being employed in the public service and in his capacity as Minister of Regional Administrations, Lands and Traditional Rulers, by willful negligent act caused plots of land (Nos. C8 and C9) to be allocated as compensation to Tamsir Onasis Konateh, with knowledge that the said plots were already allocated to Kanilai Family Farms and Mr. Basirou Sambou respectively, and with the knowledge that the said Tamsir Onasis Konteh was not qualified for any, and thereby committed an offence.

They all denied the charge.

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