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State ordered to file amended indictment in judicial officials’ alleged scam

Nov 4, 2010, 12:02 PM | Article By: Sainey M.K. Marenah

Justice Lamin Jobarteh at the High Court in Banjul on Wednesday ordered state prosecutors to file within twenty-four hours the amended indictment in the criminal trial involving five former judicial officials.

The accused persons, Justice Amina Saho Ceesay, Justice Ngui Mboob Janneh and Justice Safiatou Njie (who is said to be out of the jurisdiction), and two other judicial staff, Huruna Jaiteh, ex-Judicial Secretary, and Alhagie L.S. Sonko ex-bailiff of the high court, are on trial charged with neglect of official duty, stealing by public officer, aiding and abetting, economic crime, and forgery.

During yesterday’s proceedings in the case, the Director of Special Litigation, D.O. Kulo, who represented the state alongside M. Mendy, told the court that they are applying for the name of the third accused person, Justice Safiatou Njie, to be struck out as she is not in the country.

Antouman A. Gaye, the lead defence counsel, earlier told the court that the state had not formally file an amended information.

“We are objecting to the manner the application was filed. It should be filed formally,” he told the court.

Justice Jobarteh subsequently ordered the state prosecutors to file the amended indictment within a day, and adjourned the case till Friday 12th November 2010.

The 1st accused was represented by lawyer Abdoulie Sissoho, lawyer Lamin Camara represented the 2nd accused, while the 3rd and 4th accused persons were represented by Antouman Gaye alongside Combeh Gaye-Cooker and Hagum Gaye. Lawyer Edirissa Sissoho stood in for the 5th accused person.

It would be recalled that the three senior judicial officials namely, Justice Amina Saho-Ceesay, Justice Ngui Mboob-Janneh and Haruna Jaiteh former Judicial Secretary, were first arraigned on 2nd December 2009 before Magistrate Emmanuel Nkea of the Banjul Magistrates’ Court charged with stealing by clerk or servant.

Justice Amina Saho-Ceesay, who was granted bail in the sum of D4 million, was alleged to have stolen D2 million and US$1000 between the year 2005 and 2009 at the Sheriff’s Division of the High Court. Justice Ngui Mboob-Janneh was accused of stealing D803, 000 and 900 pounds sterling between 2005 and 2009.

Haruna Jaiteh, the ex-Judicial Secretary, was alleged to have stolen D1, 017,000 between 2005 and 2009 at the Sheriff’s Division. He was granted bail in the sum of D500, 000 with two Gambian sureties, who must sign a bail bond of D500, 000 each, one of whom should be in possession of a landed property within the Greater Banjul area.