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Trial of 14 Immigration officers resumes today

Aug 3, 2010, 2:32 PM | Article By: Yai Dibba-Jallow

The protracted trial of 14 immigration officers attached to the Gambia International Airport, and a Gambia Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) security officer, who were arrested and charged with alleged forgery and official corruption, is expected to resume today Tuesday 3rd August 2010, before Magistrate Nkea of the Brikama Magistrates' Court.

The case, which was scheduled for Monday 2nd August 2010, was adjourned to today, owing to absence of the state counsel, MB Abubacarr.

When the case was called, the counsel for the 2, 4 and 7 accused persons, Buba Jawo, reminded the court that the state counsel was not in court at the last adjournment date, and no reason was given for his absence.

Also this time around, the state counsel was absent without advancing any reason before the court, counsel said. Thus, he applied under Section 160 of the Criminal Procedure Code, Laws of The Gambia and urged the court to discharge the accused persons.

Defence counsel Jawo told the court that the case has been dragging since 2009, and the accused persons were never absent in court. He adduced that if the prosecutors are not coming to court, they should close their case for the accused persons to open their defence, as they are ready to proceed.

Assan Martin, the counsel for the first and eighth accused persons also made a similar application.

In his ruling, Magistrate Nkea told the court that the matter ought to be struck out of the court, and thus give today Tuesday and tomorrow Wednesday as the last adjournment dates.

The accused persons, according to the charge sheet on count one, on or about the 3rd July 2009, at the Gambia International Airport within the jurisdiction of the court, allegedly forged an international passport in order to dishonestly enable one Ebrima Bah to travel to the United States of America.

In count two, they were alleged to have conspired to commit official corruption.

According to the charge sheet, the accused persons being public officers employed in the public services of The Gambia, charged with the duties of screening passengers traveling at the airport, allegedly conspired among themselves and others still at large, to corruptly receive a bribe of D10, 500 from one Cherno Bah in order to enable his brother Ebrima Bah dishonestly use a forged passport to travel to the USA.

They were earlier granted court bail in the sum of D80, 000 each, with two Gambian sureties who must have a Gambian identity card.