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State Prosecutor absence delays Willy Joof's trial

Oct 7, 2010, 1:02 PM | Article By: Bakary Samateh

The criminal trial of Willy Joof, former Gambian ambassador to the Republic of France and one-time permanent secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was yesterday rescheduled to 12th October 2010 before Principal Magistrate Emmanuel Nkea of the Banjul Magistrates' Court.

The adjournment was because the prosecutor in the case, the Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, M. Abdullahi, was said to be out of the jurisdiction.

The case was scheduled yesterday for the DDPP to continue his reply to defence counsel LS Camara's objection to the tendering of a cautionary statement.

Lamin Camara at a recent hearing of the case objected to the tendering of the cautionary statement citing section 31 of the Evidence Act.

"According to my client, at the time of making his cautionary statements, there was no independent witness present. In that circumstance, who was there to say that the cautionary statement was obtaining voluntarily," counsel Camara argued.

"I'm therefore objecting to the tendering of the said cautionary statement in the interest of justice, and your worship can making a ruling on that," he added.

The former Gambian diplomat was first arraigned before Magistrate Hilary U Abeke, then at the Banjul Magistrates' Court, who refused him bail.

Counsel Lamin Camara filed bail application at the high court in Banjul before Justice VP Mahoney who granted Willy Joof bail in the sum of D3 million with two Gambian sureties who must deposit title deeds of landed properties of the same value.

Mr. Joof was also ordered to deposit his travel documents with the assistant registrar of the high court.

The former diplomat is facing a nine-count charge, including official corruption, obtaining money by false pretence, stealing, conspiracy to commit a felony, goods used and four counts of abuse of office.