Oct 12, 2009, 6:00 AM
Two public health officers and an employee of the Gambia Printing and Publishing Corporation, GPPC, were yesterday convicted by the Banjul Magistrates’ Court, presided over by acting-Principal Dawda Jallow.
The convicted persons are Henry Correa, Bakary Manjang, both public health officers, and Lamin Sambou attached to the GPPC.
They were arraigned before the said court, and charged with conspiracy and making false documents without authority.
After admitting to the charges, they were each convicted and sentenced to a fine of D5,000 on each count, in default to serve one year in prison.
Narrating the facts of the case, Sergeant Manga told the court that it happened some time in 2013, at the Department of Medical and Health.
The second accused person, Lamin Sambou, who was the supervisor at GPPC, gave the first accused person, Henry Correa 15 blank sheets of birth certificates, for which he paid Sambou D150 each.
He added that Lamin Sambou then continued with Henry Correa to Brikama Health Centre to meet the 3rd accused person, Bakary Manjang, who was a public health officer to sign the said birth certificates as a public officer.
He added that after signing the birth certificates, he distributed them to the public and his customers.
Sergeant Manga narrated that the police at the NDEA received a tip-off, and the convicted persons were later arrested and the said birth certificates were sent for testing, and later proven to be false documents.
The matter was later transferred from the NDEA to the police fraud squad for further interrogation.
The cautionary statements and the said birth certificates were tendered in court and marked as exhibits.
In their plea of mitigation, the convicts told the court that they were all breadwinners in their various families, and that they have been working for the government for a long time without any problem.
Therefore, this was a serious mistake, and that they would like the court to temper justice with mercy.
In passing the sentences, the trial magistrate told the court that the offence the convicted persons were charged with was a felony, which is very serious in the eyes of the law.
He said the court would not like to impose a custodial sentence, but instead would fine them D5, 000 on the first count which was conspiracy, and D5, 000 on count two, for making false documents without authority.
Both sentences are to run concurrently.
He further ordered the convicts to pay their fine within two weeks, failure to do which, they would be arrested and taken to Mile 2 prison to serve their sentences.
The convicts were each granted court bail of D20, 000 with one Gambia surety.