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State takes over trial of two Agric officials

May 20, 2015, 11:13 AM | Article By: Bakary Samateh

State counsel Babucarr Drammeh yesterday announced that the state had taken over the trial of Lamin JS Fatajo, project coordinator of Rural Finance, and Muhammed Lamin Mass, acting finance and administrative manager of the same project under the Ministry of Agriculture.

The two were earlier arraigned at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court, charged with abuse of office and negligence of official duty.

The case was subsequently transferred to the High Court of The Gambia for proper trial.

When the case was called, state counsel B. Drammeh announced that the Office of the Attorney General’s Chamber was taking over the case of the accused persons from the Office of the Inspector General of Police.

He then applied to the court to transfer the matter to the high court of The Gambia for a proper trial.

In response, defence counsel Lawyer Lamin LS Camara told the court the defence had no objection to the matter being transferred to the superior court.

Readers would recall thatLamin JS Fatajo and Muhammed Lamin Mass, it was alleged in count one, some time in May 2014 at Cape Point in Bakau in the Kanifing Municipality and diverse areas, in their capacity as project coordinator and acting finance and administrative manager of the Rural Finance Project (RFP), opened an account at Keystone Bank for Friends Consult Ltd through the Rural Financial Project (RFP) without informing the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs and the Ministry of Agriculture, as stipulated in the government’s Budget Management and Accountability Act 2004.

Count two stated that the duo some time in May 2014, in their capacity as the project coordinator and acting finance and administrative manager, abused authority of their office by opening an account with Keystone Bank for Friends Consult Ltd, a Ugandan firm, to access funds from their donors - International Food and Agriculture Development (IFAD) - without approval from their authorities.

The accused persons denied any wrongdoing.