Dec 10, 2013, 9:45 AM
The ex-Agric 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 in Banjul.
In his ruling, Justice Abi said that without dwelling too much on the facts, he would state that the matters to be taken into consideration on whether or not to grant bail were the nature of the charge, the severity of the punishment, the quality of the evidence available, likelihood of the accused jumping bail or interfering with witnesses, the criminal record of the accused person, if any, and the likelihood of a repetition of the offence if granted bail.
Justice Abi said section 99(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) gives the court the discretion to grant bail to any other other than a person accused of an offence punishable with death or life imprisonment.
However, this discretion must be exercised having due regard to the facts and circumstances of each case, he said.
He said that in the present bill of indictment, the highest amount of possible financial involvement alleged against the 1st and 2nd accused/applicants is in count one of the information, which is of D117,521 allegedly authorised to be paid as salary advances.
He said in count three, the economic crimes count alleged a financial loss of D18,000.
He said that for the 2nd and 3rd accused/applicants, the allegation in count 4 is authorization without approval of payment of the sum of USD14,000.
“Looking at the particular facts of these applications of the charges in the information and in view of the position of the state, I will exercise my discretion in favour of all the accused/applicants and grant bail to each of the applicants on the following terms,” Justice Abi said.
The 1st applicant, Lamin Fatajo, the ex-programme coordinator of Rural Finance Project, was granted bail of D500,000 with one Gambian surety.
The 2nd applicant, Lamin Mass, ex-administrative manager of the Rural Finance Project, was granted bail of D1 million with one Gambian surety and the 3rd applicant, Ada Gaye, was granted bail of D700, 000 with one Gambian surety.
The bail conditions further stated that each surety should deposit with the principal registrar of the high court a recognised document of title deed to a landed property of a value not less than the sum of the recognizance entered into on behalf of each of the accused persons, together with a valuation report on such a property.
The conditions further stated that the principal registrar shall verify the documents of title and the valuation reports before the applicants shall be released on bail.
It also stated that in lieu of the documents of title, each surety might deposit with the principal registrar, the cash equivalent of the recognizance entered into on behalf of the accused for whom the sureties have stood.
It stated further that in the case of any such cash deposit, the principal registrar of the high court shall be custody of the deposit in an interest yielding account pending the hearing and determination of the case.
Each applicant shall deposit with the principal registrar of the high court their Gambian passport and any other travel documents they possess pending the hearing and determination of the case against them.
The case was adjourned to 15 April 2015.