#Article (Archive)

State files amended charge in Lamin Waa Juwara and Co trial

Apr 24, 2014, 9:34 AM | Article By: Bakary Samateh

State counsel M.N. Jobe yesterday told the court that the state has filed a new amended charge in the trial involving former lands minister Lamin Waa Juwara, and two others at the Banjul magistrates’ court before principal magistrate Hilary Abeke

The other accused persons are Hamidou Jallow, principal lands and valuation officer at the said ministry, and Tamsir Onasis Konteh, a local businessman.

When the case was called, the state counsel said the amended charge sheet before the court is in respect of count eight, which needed to be amended.

“I therefore urge the court to grant the state’s application and substitute the old charge sheet with the new one.”

In response, defence counsel Abdoulie Sisohor told the court that in April 2013, an oral application was made by the director of public prosecutions and the application was granted by the court, and on 23 April 2014, the defence were again served with another amended charge.

Counsel added that there are laws governing the amendment of charges in court, and there are steps to follow.

He said once the charge was amended in court, it could not be amended again and, therefore, urged the court to strike out the new amended charge and maintain the old one.

Counsel further argued that the case was filed in court since 2012, and the prosecution had led five witnesses in support of their case.

“The first prosecution witness, Samba Sillah, gave evidence and made it clear that the 3rd accused person, Lamin Waa Juwara, was not the minister in 2011, but in 2012. I therefore urged the court to refuse the application,” he added.

Another defence counsel, Lamin LK Mboge, also urged the court not to grant the application made by the state counsel.

“Your worship will also see that count eight is the only count which involved the 3rd accused person, and the prosecution is now trying to amend the eighth count to cause more embarrassment to the 3rd accused person,” he said.

The evidence before this court shows that in November 2011 the accused person was not a minister at the time. The new amended charge stated on or about August 2012, which was the time the accused person was the minister, counsel said.

Counsel urged the court not to grant the application, “because it is illegal and unconstitutional to grant this application.”

The case was adjourned to 28 April 2014.