May 3, 2017, 10:46 AM
The accused persons, who were former Ministry of Agriculture officials, are Lamin Fatajo, the ex-programme coordinator of Rural Finance Project, Lamin Mass, ex-administrative manager of the Rural Finance Project, and Ada Gaye ex-permanent secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture.
Lawyers L.S. Camara and E. Singhateh represented the 1st and 2nd accused; Lawyer SM Tambadou represented the 3rd accused.
The state was represented by the DPP alongside Adeyemi.
When the case was called, DPP Barkun told the court that so far PW1 and PW2 have testified in the case, but they have received another case file involving the accused persons.
That being the case, they wanted to file an amended charge, he said, adding that they were seeking an adjournment to file the amended `charge, which was why they did not call any witness to come and testify.
In response, defence counsel L.S. Camara said if the prosecution was asking for an adjournment to put its house in order, and as well to file an amended charge, they have no problem with that.
The case was adjourned to 4 June for mention and plea on the amended charge.
Readers would recall that the accused persons were earlier arraigned before Justice Abi of the Banjul High Court on a four-count charge ranging from economic crimes, abuse of office to negligence, which they all denied. The prosecution then called two witnesses.
According to the indictment read in court the accused persons, Lamin Fatajo, and Lamin Mass, in count one were, between February and November 2013 in Banjul and diverse places in The Gambia, while being employed as programme coordinator of Rural Finance Project and acting finance administrative manager of the Rural Finance Project respectively, abused their offices by authorizing and approving the payment of D117,521 as salary advances for project staff in contravention of the projects finance and administration procedure manual.
Count two stated that the two accused persons between December 2013 and May 2014 neglected their duties by failing to stop the payment of D18,000 as sitting allowances to some committee members who failed to attend such meetings.
Count three stated that the accused persons between December 2013 and May 2014 approved the payment of D18,000 as sitting allowances to some Committee members set up to review the union finance promotion center and were not entitled to the same, which act is detrimental to the economy of The Gambia or to the people of The Gambia.
Count four stated that the accused persons, Lamin Fatajo, Lamin Mass and Ada Gaye between 1 and 31 July 2014, being employed as programme coordinator of Rural Finance Project, acting finance administrative manager of the Rural Finance Project and permanent secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture respectively neglected in their official duties by authorizing the payment of $14,000 to Sonko Fofana without first seeking and obtaining approval from IFAD.