Tuesday, January 22, 2013

State Brought Charge Against Gambia’s Appeals Court President Justice Wowo

Court grants him 100, 000K bail

Justice Wowo is accused of "lying" to State Agents, a charge he denied
Justice Joseph Wowo, Gambia’s Court of Appeal President until recently, has been granted bail by the Criminal Division of the High Court in Banjul, the capital, on Jan. 21, 2013.
He was remanded at the State’s maximum security wing, the Mile 2 central prison after he was arraigned before the Banjul Magistrates Court on Friday and charged with “giving false information” to a public officer. 
Wowo, a Nigerian, was reportedly arrested on Jan. 17, 2013 and subsequently reportedly dismissed from his position. 
Wowo, who served briefly as Gambia’s acting Chief Justice has since pleaded “not guilty.”
Magistrate Dawda Jallow, presiding, subsequently ordered for Wowo to be held in custody.
Under Gambian Law, crimes of “giving false information” are punishable with a fine of D500 or 6 months imprisonment or both. 
On Monday, a Cameroonian judge Justice Emmanuel Nkea, presiding at the Special Criminal  Court, granted Wowo court bail in the sum of one hundred thousand dalasis  (D100, 000), a condition was attached that one person stood surety for him.
This decision followed the bail application filed by his counsel Ida Drammeh. 
The prosecution accuses Wowo of writing a letter to the National Intelligence Agency, NIA, on or about Dec., 3, 2012 in Banjul, informing them that Mrs. Amie Bensouda, a private lawyer, conducted herself in a manner that was undermining the administration of The Gambia Judiciary, by asking for data on pending cases related to land.
The prosecution said Wowo knew this information was false at the time. 
Prior to his granting of bail, lawyer Ida Drammeh, defending, said the offence the accused is charged with under section 114(a) of the Criminal Code is a misdemeanor and a bailable offence. 
The state has not filed any opposing affidavit as such the state is not opposing the application for bail, she argued.
SalehHadi Barkun, prosecuting, admitted the state is not opposing the bail application filed by the defence.
Justice Nkea, presiding, also admitted to this fact.  
“In this case no reason has been advanced why I should not grant bail and cannot invent one,” he said.  
“If the parties before the court say they have common grounds on the grant of bail, the court cannot discern into the arena to do otherwise,” he added.
He then grant the erstwhile president of the Appeals Court bail in the sum of D100,000 with one surety in like sum who must show proof of means and must be properly identified by the principal registrar of High Court.      
Proceedings at the Banjul Magistrates Court are scheduled to continue on 28th Jan., 2013.

Written by Modou S. Joof

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