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Prosecution withdraws case of essential commodities exportation

Apr 23, 2020, 11:56 AM | Article By: Dawda Faye

The prosecution team, led by Inspector Oley Bobb, on 22 April, 2020, withdrew the case involving nine men who were charged with exporting essential commodities. The prosecution applied under Section 68 of the Criminal Procedure Code to withdraw the matter.

A directive from the police command was received to withdraw the case, according to the prosecution. The presiding magistrate granted the application to withdraw the case. 

It could be recalled that Alieu Jallow, Alasan Jeng, Abdourahman Jallow, Ousman Baldeh, Ousman Sarr, Musa Barry, Babacarr Sallah, Pascal Mendy and Sulayman Jallow were on the 9th April, 2020, arraigned before Principal Magistrate Isatou Janneh-Njie of the Kanifing Magistrates’ Court for allegedly exporting essential commodities, contrary to Section 5 (1) (a) and punishable under Section 7 (1) (a) of the Essential Commodities Emergency Powers Regulations, 2020.

They pleaded not guilty when the charge sheet was read to them.

According to the indictment bill, the accused persons on the 1st and 3rd April, 2020, along Banjul, Westfield–Brikama Highway and diverse places in the Kanifing Municipality of the Republic of The Gambia, being commercial drivers to motor vehicle registration numbers: RGB 3282 LR, KD 7752 A, RGB 6402 CD, RC 2446 A, TH 09023 F, DL 4714 D, TH 2732 E and RGB 7949 CC, were found with 6,533 bags of sugar, 12 twenty-litre gallons of cooking oil, some bags of rice, 50 boxes of China green tea,  other 50 boxes of China green tea, 884 cartons of milk and some assorted goods to export to Casamance and Guinea Bissau.

They were granted bail in the sum of D250,000 each with a Gambian surety who should surrender his or her ID card and swear to an affidavit of means. The accused were asked also to deposit their travelling documents with the registrar of the court.

Inspector Bobb, Sergeant Touray and Sub- Inspector Gomez presented the bill of indictment on behalf of the Inspector General of Police. The prosecution team called their first and second witnesses on the 14th April, 2020, to testify.

Pa Saho Suso, a police officer and the first witness, told the court that he works at the Ant Crime Unit under CID operation. He stated that on the 31st March, 2020, and 1st April, 2020, he and his colleagues went on patrol around the Mandinaba end. He told the court that he identified Sulayman Jallow, one of the accused persons.

He testified that they intercepted a truck containing some bags of sugar between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m.         He further told the court that Sulayman Jallow was arrested and taken to the Anti Crime Unit.  He added that he then made a statement.

Combeh Gaye and Sega Gaye represented the accused persons. Sega Gaye cross-examined the witness. Under cross-examination, the witness was asked whether he checked the goods in the truck. He replied that it was the accused who told him that there were 1240 bags of sugar, adding that there was a space on the truck and the accused showed him the bags of sugar through the space.

It was put to him that there were other goods in the truck apart from the bags of sugar, but he answered that he saw only the bags of sugar. He noted that he and his team were on patrol until 4 a. m. to 5 a. m. when they took the accused to the Anti Crime Unit.

It was also put to him that he had enough time to check all the goods in the truck. He replied that they had no time to do so because they were patrolling. He was asked whether the truck left the territory of The Gambia. He answered in the negative.

The second witness, Police Officer Bass, identified two accused persons namely, Alieu Jallow and Abdourahman Jallow. He narrated almost the same story as the one narrated by the first witness. He told the court that one of the trucks at Bund Road was about to leave.

He was asked whether the truck which contained the bags of sugar which belonged to Alieu Jallow left The Gambia. He said it did not. It was then put to him that the accused did not violate any law, and he responded that he could not answer the question.   

The case was subsequently adjourned to the 20th April, 2020, for continuation. The presiding magistrate then informed the court that she would advise herself as to whether to transfer the case.

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