Court issues arrest warrant for journalist Nanama Keita
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Moses Richards handed two and half years jail term
A Gambian private lawyer, Moses B. Johnson Richards, 41, has been handed an imprisonment term of two and half years by the Magistrate Court in Banjul, the capital of The Gambia on Monday.
Magistrate Alagbe Taiwo Ade, presiding, convicted Mr Richards to 30 months imprisonment with hard labour after he found him guilty on two counts of “giving false information” and “sedition”.
The former Magistrate and High Court Judge had earlier pleaded not-guilty to the two criminal charges brought against him by the police earlier this year. The charges emanates from a letter he wrote to the Office of the President on behalf of his client over a land dispute at Jabang village, Kombo North District of the West Coast Region.
On September 19, 2011, the lower court sentence him to six months on “giving false information” and two years on “sedition”, however, Magistrate Taiwo Ade in his judgment noted that the sentencing should run concurrently.
The verdict reached by the court was greeted by scenes of weeping relatives.
In front of a crowded court room, Mr Richards’s counsel, Mr Antouman Gaye, a senior member of the Bar, urged the court to temper justice with mercy. He said the 41-year old Richards, is a married man on whom a wife and three children depend.
He cited that the convict has served the State as a 1st Class Magistrate at both the Bundung and Kanifing Magistrate Courts in the Kanifing Municipality. This, Counsel Gaye said is a testimony of Richards’s hard work and commitment. He also noted that the convict is a Masters Degree holder.
However, the presiding Magistrate was rather unimpressed and when he intervene, he said “the court is not a place to narrate Richards’s biography.”
The prosecution, led by Director of Special Litigation Daniel O. Kulo called two witnesses to prove their case while the Defence, led by Suharata S.B. Janneh also called two including the convict.
He was earlier charge and taken to the State’s Central Prison, Mile II without a court order but later granted bail in the sum of D500 with two Gambian sureties.
Three Magistrates: Emmanuel Nkea, Sheriff B. Tabally and Alagbe Taiwo Ade have presided over his trial since January 2011.
His arrest and subsequent charge sparked a three-day sit-down strike by the Gambia Bar Association, the GBA. The Bar wrote to the Chief Justice, Emmanuel Agim asking for the charges to be dropped.
In 2009, he was fired from his position as Judge at the Special Criminal Division of the High Court in Banjul. No reason was advanced in connection with his dismissal, and he later on continues to work as a private legal practitioner.
Hotel manager’s trial deferred again
The criminal trial involving the General Manager of Ocean Bay Hotel Juergen Odenwald on possession of cannabis has been deferred without any explanation.
Mr Odenwald is being prosecuted by the National Drug Enforcement Agency (NDEA) at the District Magistrate Court in Banjul and has since pleaded not guilty.
When the case resume on Monday September 12, the prosecutor, inspector M. Jallow informs the court that after consultation with the defence counsel of the accused, they intended to apply for an adjournment.
However, he fall-short of giving further explanation on the prosecution’s stance. Magistrate Tabally, presiding, granted the application and pushes the case to 29th September, 2011 at 12 noon.
Mr Odenwald was arrested on 23rd April, 2011 by officials of the NDEA, who were accompanied by a police officer. They charge him with being in possession of illegal drugs (cannabis) and subsequently detained him at the NDEA office in Bundung for three days before he was released on bail.
Mr Odenwald denied the charge when he appeared court in April. The prosecution has so far called four witnesses.
|Nanama @ 2010 World Cup|
Court issues arrest warrant for journalist Nanama Keita
The Lower Court in Banjul presided over by Magistrate Sheriff S. Tabally on Monday ordered for the arrest of Mr Nanama Keita, former sport editor of the pro-government Daily Observer newspaper.
The decision followed an application by the Prosecutor Superintendent Sainey Joof who noted the accused is not in court and that he understands he is out of jurisdiction. Mr Keita was standing trial on one count of giving “false information to a public officer” in June and has since denied any wrong doing.
Mr Keita’s Counsel Neneh Cham admitted that her client is not in court. She noted that the trial is at the stage of testimony and that two witnesses have already testified. However, she said “this is the first time her client failed to appear before the court” and on this ground, she applied for an adjournment. The case has been adjourned till 26th September, 2011.
Mr. Keita was grant bail by the court in the sum of D100, 000. His trial emanates from a petition he wrote in May 2011 to the Office of the President in the capital, Banjul claiming for wrongful dismissal as Deputy Editor-In-Chief and Head of Sport Desk and financial malpractice of the managing director of the Daily Observer.
Meanwhile, media reports has it that Mr Keita has fled the country in fear for his life and is currently in the United States of America. The Voice newspaper understands Mr Keita is among 14 young journalists around the world attending the “Young Journalists 2011 Reham al-Farra Memorial Fellowship” which began on September 12 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
Earlier reports have it that Mr Keita has received constant anonymouse “death threat” text messages on his mobile phone.
Bissau Guinean charged with cocaine trafficking
Juan Carlos Monero, a Bissau Guinean has been charged with being in possession of prohibited drugs (cocaine) for the purpose of trafficking on 14th September 2011.
Mr Monero was arraigned at the Banjul Magistrate Court presided over by Principal Magistrate Sheriff B. Tabally. He pleaded not guilty and was not represented by a counsel.
The court subsequently ordered for his remand at the National Drug Enforcement in Banjul. Monero was arrested at Brikama, the capital of the West Coast Region of The Gambia in June this year.
The particulars of offence stated that, on 16 June 2011 at Brikama College police checkpoint Juan Carlos Monero was found in his possession 63kg and 440mg of cocaine and thereby committed an offence. Hearing continues on 26 September 2011.
Defence to file address in billion dollar cocaine trial
Defence counsel Musa Bachilly has been given seven days to reply to the written address made by the State Prosecutor Mikailu Abdullah in the ongoing billion dollar cocaine trial involving nine foreign nationals.
Bachilly had earlier on applied for an adjournment of two weeks to enable him reply on the point of law, but he was instead given seven days.
The accused: five Venezuelans, two Deutsch nationals from Holland, one Nigerian and a Mexican-Liberian, are standing trial on ten counts of conspiracy, dealing in prohibited drugs, being in possession of firearms without authority, importation of firearms without authority and related offences. They have since denied any wrong doing.
On 14th September, 2011 at Banjul Magistrate Court presided by Principal Magistrate Sheriff B. Tabally; the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mikailu Abdullah noted that the state has filed written briefs to the court.
The accused persons are: Ephriam Michael Chiduben a Nigerian national; Juan Carlos Sanchez, Eric Bottini, Dose Fermin, Juan Carlos Diaz and Esteaban Zavala, all Venezuelan nationals, George Sanchez, a Mexican-Liberian national, Rudy Rasoehamid Gazi and Dennis Wilgo Winter both Dutch nationals. The case will resume on 23rd September 2011.
Ghanaian and Gambian convicted of preparing false bank statement
Mr God Fred Baffour Asamoah, a Ghanaian citizen residing in The Gambia and Mr Bakary Fatty has been found guilty of making a “false bank statement” by the Kanifing Municipal Magistrate Court on September 15.
Magistrate Dawda Jallow, presiding, sentence Mr Asamaoh to a fine of D5000 in default to serve five months imprisonment and Mr Fatty to a fine of D3000 and in default to serve three months imprisonment.
The court noted the two prepared the false Reliance Financial Service bank statement with intend to defraud the Netherlands Embassy in The Gambia. They had earlier pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit felony and but pleaded not-guilty on forgery.
According the charge sheet, Bakary Fatty and God Fred Baffour Asamoah on or about sometimes in the month of August 2011 at I-Link Internet Café, Kairaba Avenue in the Kanifing Municipality of the Republic of The Gambia, jointly conspired among themselves to prepare false Reliance Financial Service Bank Statement with intend to defraud the Netherlands Embassy in The Gambia, and thereby committed an offence. The particulars in Count Two stated that God Fred Baffour Asamoah sometimes in the month of August 2011 at I-Link Internet Café Kairaba Avenue and diverse places in the Kanifing Municipality of the Republic of The Gambia, forged a Reliance Financial Services Bank Statement in the name of Bakary Fatty trading as “Baco General Trading Company” Account number: 0010172813001 and a cover letter to the Netherlands Embassy which were purportedly signed by Ida Jeng as Branch Manager and Ismaila Faal as ED-Domestic and International Operations which signatures were also forged by them, and thereby committed an offence.
Chief Inspector Darboe represented the Inspector General of Police.