Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Murder: NDEA officers’ case to be heard by the SCD/HC

More news....
  • Bachilly urges expunge of charge against Indian NationalImproving Reproductive Health - UNFPA 
  • Treason Trial: Tamba, Fofana’s fate to be decide today 
  • Our future and survival matters more than anything else  
  • NDEA deputy director testifies against the former
Murder: NDEA officers’ case to be heard by the SCD/HC
The Banjul City Court presided by Magistrate Alagbe Taiwo Ade on May 18, 2011 ordered for the transfer of the murder case involving four National Drug Enforcement Agency (NDEA) Officers to the Special Criminal Division of the High Court in Banjul.
The quartet, Ebou Lowe, Eku P.L. Grant, Abdoulie M.K. Jallow, Modou C. Jaw and Mahtar Conteh are charged with two counts of “Conspiracy to commit murder” and “murder”. They have not taken their plea yet on the allegations against them.
On Wednesday, Police Prosecutor Sergeant 3238 Manga said the offences are capital offences. He applied for the matter to be transferred to Special Criminal Division.
Without hesitation, Magistrate Taiwo granted the application, but ordered that the accused persons be remanded at the State’s Central Prison, Mile II, until when they are arraigned at the High Court.
The 2nd accused, Eku P.L. Grant is represented by lawyer Lamin S. Camara, while three others where without defence counsels. Read on the charge sheet …
Count one: Conspiracy to commit murder contrary to section 204 of the criminal code cap 10:01 Volume III reverse Laws of The Gambia 2009. The particulars: Ebou Lowe, Ebou Lowe, Eku P. L. Grant, Abdoulie M. K. Jallow, Modou C. Jaw and Mahtar Conteh on or about 15th April 2011 in The Republic of The Gambia at Banjul and diverse places jointly conspire and murder one Cherno Alieu Suwareh alias Che thereby committed an offence.
Count two: Murder contrary to section 187 of the criminal code cap 10: 01 Volume III reverse Laws of The Gambia 2009. The particulars: Ebou Lowe, Ebou Lowe, Eku P. L. Grant, Abdoulie M. K. Jallow, Modou C. Jaw and Mahtar Conteh on or about 15th April 2011 in The Republic of The Gambia at Banjul and diverse murder one Cherno Alieu Suwareh alias Che thereby committed an offence.
Prior to their first appearance in Court, the Police Public Relation Officer (PRO) ASP Yerro Mballow said told journalists at a media briefing that the incident happen on 25th May 2011 at Bakau Sanchaba, when a team of NDEA officers went to the house of the deceased Cherno Alieu Suwareh alias Che to conduct a search and found some “suspected cannabis”.
“During the course of the arresting, the late Cherno Alieu Suwareh was arrested and there was a push and pull between the deceased and the NDEA officers who beat him up and as a result the deceased sustained serious injuries on his head and Suwareh was taken to NDEA’s main office for interrogation,” Mballow said at the Police Headquarters in Banjul.
According to him, during the course of the investigation, there was an eyewitness who informed the police that before the NDEA officials whisked away the deceased, he saw them “seriously beating” him with a baton, which caused some injuries.
After eleven days, Suwareh claimed that he was feeling sick, he was taken to Royal Victoria Teaching Hospital (RVTH) in Banjul for treatment, where he was admitted for a few days before he died, Mballow narrates. Source – The Voice

Improving Reproductive Health - UNFPA
Everyone has the right to enjoy reproductive health, which is a basis for having healthy children, intimate relationships and happy families, The Voice Newspaper’s Amadou Bah reports on the United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA) stance.
Reproductive health encompasses key areas of the UNFPA vision – that every child is wanted; every birth is safe, every young person is free of HIV and every girl and woman is treated with dignity and respect.
“Reproductive health problems remain the leading cause of ill health and death for women of childbearing age worldwide,” the UNFPA said in a statement on May 12, 2011.
Adding: “Impoverished women, especially those living in developing countries, suffer disproportionately from unintended pregnancies, maternal death and disability, sexually transmitted infections including HIV, gender-based violence and other problems related to their reproductive system and sexual behaviour.”
It said this is because young people often face barriers in trying to get the information or care they need, adolescent reproductive health is another important focus of UNFPA programming. And all programming relies on the availability of essential supplies.
The New York-based UN body said the critical importance of reproductive health to development has been acknowledged at the highest level. At the 2005 World Summit, world leaders added universal access to reproductive health as a target in Millennium Development Goals framework.
“UNFPA is fully committed to mobilizing support and scaling up efforts to make reproductive health for all a reality by 2015. Calling for Investments in Young People and Reproductive Health,” the statement said.
Speaking at the 4th Least Developed Countries (LDCs) Conference High-Level Thematic Debate on the Human and Social Development, Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women, the UNFPA Executive Director Habitude Osotimehin, said given the large youth populations in the LDCs where 6 in 10 people are under the age of 25, these countries have a unique opportunity, and responsibility, to invest in young people, especially adolescent girls, to accelerate growth and improve equity.
He said one of the most under-appreciated yet highly effective areas of investment is reproductive health. This investment reduces infant, child and maternal deaths; slows population growth; enhances the empowerment of women and girls, reduces poverty; and saves public spending on social services in the long run.
“My main argument is that now is the time to invest in women and young people.
Today the LDCs have the highest rates of population growth, maternal and child mortality, and unmet need for family planning.
Every year, nearly 360,000 women worldwide don't survive childbirth. Four million babies die during childbirth or within a few weeks. Most of these deaths can be prevented,” he said.
However, he said there are some encouraging trends as recent data confirmed that the global maternal mortality ratio has declined 34 percent between 1990 and 2008. In Bangladesh, for example, maternal mortality has gone down by 40 percent. In Nepal, it's dropped 50 percent. Other countries have also made progress.
He said: “Investments in family planning and maternal and newborn health have contributed to a decline of at least 30 percent in maternal deaths in 19 countries. So it's clear that with the right tools, the right partnerships, and the right commitment, we can achieve real results. And it’s not only the right thing to do; it is also smart economics.”
Improving the health and status of women and girls has a positive multiplier effect because when women succeed, they lift themselves, their families and their communities with them.
A recent analysis published in The Lancet, said half the reduction in child mortality over the past 40 years can be directly attributed to better education for women. If a woman knows better how to care for her child, she will demand more and receive more for herself and her children.
That's why UNFPA is fully supporting the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health. Through the Global Strategy, we've set very ambitious new targets for improving maternal and child health and access to family planning, Mr. Osotimehin said.
“The efforts are broad-based, self-sustaining, and country-led. So we're working to build health systems that give women and children access to an integrated package of essential health services, from prenatal care and skilled birth attendants to reproductive healthcare, immunization services, and the prevention for mother-to-child HIV transmission.”
“We're also working together to remove barriers that keep women and girls from getting access to healthcare. And we're creating innovative solutions that foster better coordination on the ground.”
One innovation he said is “husband schools” where husbands learn about reproductive health and family planning. We pioneered these in Niger where contraceptive use rose from 5 percent in 2006 to 20 percent in 2010. So this is a great way to break barriers and engage men.
He reiterated that young people can be a powerful force for progress if they are equipped with education, health and skills to reach their full potential. But too many young people today face poverty that causes them to forego schooling and find work to contribute to their family’s income.
This is especially problematic for adolescent girls who face discrimination and narrowing life opportunities and choices. Boys, on the other hand, are often socialized to believe that dominant attitudes toward girls and women and risk-taking are what it takes to be a “real” man.
He stressed: “I am mentioning these things because attitudes and behaviours related to gender relations, sexuality and reproductive rights and responsibilities are central to the fabric of life and also to the progress of nations.”
“The investments that governments make today in human capital must include investments in young people to stay healthy. The needs that young people have for information, education and services related to sexual and reproductive health are often neglected, and the gender inequalities facing young people are often overlooked. As a result HIV/AIDS is infecting too many young persons and maternal death is a leading killer of young women aged 15 to 19.”
He revealed that UNFPA experience over many years has taught us that responding to young people’s diversity, socio-economic, cultural and gender-specific circumstances are essential to the success of sexual and reproductive health programmes.
And in order to succeed, he said they realize and recognize that we need to listen to young people and learn about their real life needs, challenges, and preferences. Investing in young people is one of the most significant and cost-effective strategies for achieving global development goals, including the MDGs.
“If we fail to invest in this generation’s well-being, in their education, health and employment, we will further entrench poverty and deprivation. If we seize the opportunity to support, engage and invest in women and young people, we will improve productivity and prosperity for generations to come,” he concluded. Source – The Voice

Treason Trial: Tamba, Fofana’s fate to be decide today
The Presiding Judge, Justice Emmanuel Ewan Ikpala of the High Court in Banjul will deliver judgment today in the treason trial involving former chief of defence staff, CDS Langtombong Tamba and former naval chief, Admiral Sarjo Fofana.
The two are charged with four counts of treason including “conspiracy to commit felony”, “concealment of treason”, and offences related to the March 21, 2006 aborted coup led by fugitive Colonel Ndure Cham, erstwhile CDS of Gambia Armed Forces (GAF).
They have denied the charges in late 2010, since taking their plea at the Special Criminal Division of the High Court, in the capital, Banjul.
Followers of the case would recall that the prosecution has called six witnesses, among them, Major Alieu Bah, Modou Manneh, Timothy Sanyang, Modou Sowe, ex-Captain Bunja Darboe and Yaya Darboe.
The later two (the Darboes’) are presently serving life sentences for their part in the 2006 coup attempt.
The court had earlier dismissed a ‘no case to answered’ submission filed by the defence, maintaining that the prosecution had established a “prima facie” case against the accused persons.
The accused persons were then ordered by the Court to open their defence; however, they preferred to rely on their own evidences and those given by the prosecution witnesses. Their voluntary statements were tendered by the prosecution and were admitted as exhibits.
After both sides submitted their addresses to the Court, Justice set May 23, 2011 for judgment. Source – The Voice    
  • Note: They have already been convicted to 20 years imprisonment on Monday. Details will come on The North Bank Evening Standard on Thursday.       

Our future and survival matters more than anything else
Our atmosphere is a resource that needs to be protected for our future, Mr. Buba Baldeh, the Focal Person of the “i Matter March” said on May 18, 2011.
The event, observed around the world from May 7 – 14, was organised by i Matter March in The Gambia in collaboration with the Afrikaada - The Gambia at Pipeline.
The is celebrated for the first time in The Gambia, marked by a march pass from Latrikunda Yiringyana Lower Basic School to Pipeline, including students, Global Unification, and the Youth Alliance amongst others on the theme “For the celebration is We Matter”.
The “i Matter March” is an initiative to advocate and call the attention of world leaders to commit themselves to the fight against climate change, to save the future of youths and children.  
Mr. Baldeh said the voices of the youths are the most important on this issue because it is their future that is at stake. He said: “Our leaders are not listening to us, so we are taking action, as our future and survival matters, more than anything else. We are marching for a planet inheriting climate change.”
“The world marks the event to extend the information on climate change and its dangers, while sensitizing the people about the negative implications of climate change.”
“Our next plan is that after the  petitions are signed, we will submitted it to the government for it to put in place climate change recovery plans, for the betterment of the future of the youths and children,” he told The Voice in an interview.   
“We count on our leaders to protect the planet for our future. We count on them to keep us safe and protect us, right now and when we grew up. That means protecting the land and atmosphere that we need to survive. But our governments have failed to do that.” 
According to him, fossil fuels like coal and oil have already put too much carbondioxide in the atmosphere, messing up the balance of nature on this planet. This has caused more extreme weather, more intense droughts, floods and wildfires, extreme ice melt that threatens the water supplies.
“If we do nothing, it will cause drastic sea level rise, more diseases, and even the extinction of entire species. My generation will be hurt the most by all of this. But our government won’t do anything about it,” he noted.
“Our leaders are more focused on profits than our futures rather than thinking about what our lives will be like when we reach their age, they listen to fossil fuel companies who care only about their own profits. Any day that they do not take action, we get closer and closer to a tipping point where the danger cannot be undone.” Source – The Voice

NDEA deputy director testifies against the former
On 16 May 2011, Kalilu Njie, deputy director of National Drug Enforcement Agency (NDEA) has opened his testimony in the criminal trial of former deputy director of NDEA Karamo Bojang at the Banjul Magistrate Court presided by Alagbe Taiwo Ade.
Bojang is charged with two counts of “stealing” and “abusive of office”, but has since pleaded not guilty and he is being represented by Counsel Sheriff M. Tambedou.
On Monday, Kalilu Njie told the court he recalled that in 2006, Mbye Njie, an NDEA officer attached to the Serrekunda Office was assigned by Commissioner Karamo Bojang (the accused) to investigate the death of Nigerian Samuel Okafo.
Okafo’s death in Ibo Town, Greater Banjul Area, was said to be in connection to drugs.
Njie said the investigation was done and the death body of Mr. Samuel Okafo was recovered by the investigation team and the body was taken to a mortuary. He said a postmortem was carried out and 67 pellets of cocaine were recovered from Okafo’s body.
These pellets, he said were handed to Karamo Bojang, during which time he was the “Exhibits Keeper of Hard Drugs”.
According to him, when the accused, Karamo Bojang was asked about the whereabouts of the pellets of drug, he said it has been destroyed during a “drug destruction exercise”.
“Karamo Bojang said before the destruction, he saw the drugs to me with paints of bloods on them and in reaction to this statement from the accused person I said he never shown any drugs to me recovered from Okafo’s body during the drug destruction day,” the witness argues. Hearing continues on 30th May, 2011. Source – The Voice

Bachilly urges expunge of charge against Indian National
Defence Counsel Musa Bachilly has on May 18, called upon the Kanifing Municipal Court presided by Magistrate Sheriff B. Tabally to wipeout the charge against Maliesh D. Bhojwani, an Indian national.
Mr. Bhojwani is standing trial on one count of “Prohibition of conduct conducive to breach the peace”, which emanate from an allegation that he has called Gambians, including President Jammeh as “lazy black monkeys”.
On Wednesday, his lawyer, Mr. Bachilly submitted that the prosecution fails to prove their case beyond reasonable doubt, arguing that the alleged offence is not a severe liable charge.
“There is absolutely no evidence to suggest that the accused person committed an offence prohibited by law. There is no evidence that the accused person said Gambians are lazy black monkeys or insulted the President,” he said.
He added that the prosecution fails miserably to prove that the accused person used abusive language towards the 1st and 2nd prosecution witnesses. It is a common law principle that no one is guilty of a crime unless at a material of time when had a legal responsible state of mind.
Bachilly further submitted that an act alone does not make a man guilty of an offence, quoting the 1st witness, Isatou Singhateh to have said that she use to buy things from the accused and that her blood-sister works for the accused person.
He said Isatou Singhateh has told the court in her testimony that the accused person said “all Gambians are lazy black monkeys” that is why he does not like them.
However, lawyer Bachilly argued: “The accused person has never said that and if he did, he will not hire Gambians to work for him.”
“The comment the accused made was that his Store Manager Kaddy Singhateh is lazy and does not respect time. The comment angered the 1st witness, Isatou Singhateh and she told the accused person that she will deal with him,” Bachilly argues.
He further argues that Singhateh’s evidence cannot be relied upon by the District Court, adding that the 3rd witness, Musa Ceesay is not credible and his evidence is inconsistent with the facts.
“He said he was outside and heard the accused saying all Gambians are lazy. His evidence is controversial and has been challenged during cross examination,” the lawyer said.
He reiterated that the accused person denied the allegation in his defence and said during the incident, there was a drunken man who insulted the president.
Bachilly also noted that the charge does not match the particulars of claim, before he finally submit that the Court “acquit and discharge” Mr. Bhojwani.
However, the new Prosecutor Inspector Darboe applied for an adjournment on grounds that he needs to familiarize himself with the case. The trial continues on May 23, 2011. Source – The Voice

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