Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Case of the Judges and Co Adjurned Indefinately

Banjul, The Gambia (TNBES) The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Richard N. Change, on friday 22 January, 2010 again asked the Court to adjourn the criminal case against the six judicial staff, due to the State's unreadiness to continue with the hearing of the case.
DPP Chenge told Principal Magistrate Emmanuel Nkea of the Banjul Magistrates' Court that he wants one more adjournment of the case to enable the State to be ready to proceed with it. He said they are still writing their opinion and that serious consultations are still going on with the top authorities on the issue. He said the report is a lenthy one and that the judicial investigations committee is tirelessly working on it.
"I'm humbly applying for only one week adjournment to allow us to make a decision," DPP Chenge said.
Magistrate Nkea reminded him that the case will be three months since it was registered with his court without proceeding. He indicated that he would be obliged to dismiss the case if it does not proceed. He noted that he could not afford to see accused persons paraded before him and the case not proceeding.
The presiding magistrate therefore told DPP to make a withdrawal application rather than an adjournment. He said it is better for the case to be withdrawn until the State is ready to bring them for trial.
The DPP rose up again and told the Court that the matter in hand is a very complicated issue and needs careful handling.
Lawyer Antouman Gaye, speaking on behalf of defence counsels in the case, said he agrees with the prosecution to withdraw the case until the State is ready. He said that it is very clear before the court now, that the State is not ready to proceed.
Gaye said, "They have rushed to the court without being ready and they cannot proceed. Under their circumstance, it si right and proper for the charges to be withdrawn. The court should not subscribe to adjournments every time. it is very oppressive to the accused persons."
DPP rising for the third time told the Court that withdrawing the charges will not be in favour of the accused persons. He argued that withdrawing the charges can cost embarrasment to the accused persons since it could lead to their arrest and detention. He said that to avoid the embarrasment of arrest, "It is better for the matter is adjourned 'Sine die'.
Lawyer Gaye called the DPP's statement a threat to their clients. He said that he was suprised that the DPP could make such threatening statements like 'they will be arrested when the charges are withdrawn'.
"This is a real threat. I will agree with an adjournment to avoid embarassment of arrest of our clients. The case can be adjourned 'Sine die' as DPP said it", Lawyer Gaye said.
Magistrate Nkea ruled that no date is set for the hearing of the case.
The six accused persons, namely Justice Amina Saho Ceesay, and Nguie Mboob Janneh, Judicial Secretary Haruna Jaiteh, Bailiff Alagie L.S. Sonko, Assistant Bailiff Pa Modou Njie and Ansumana Sonko were all in court.
Justice Amina SahoCeesay is accused of stealing D2 million and $1000 at the Sheriff's Division of the High Court. Justice Nguie Mboob Janneh is accused of stealing D803, 000 and 900 pound sterling. Mr. Haruna Jaiteh is charged with stealing D1, 117, 000. Mr. Alagie L.S. Sonko is charged with stealing D1, 215, 000 and 900 pound sterling. Mr. Ansumana Sonko accused of stealing 900 pound sterling. and Mr. Modou Njie is also charged with stealing.
All the accused persons are charged saperately under Section 258 of the Criminal Code, 'Stealing by clerk or servant'. They all pleaded not guilty to the charges and are on bail. VOL:2 ISSN:50 

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