Saturday, October 2, 2010

CUSTODIAL SENTENCE FOR DAILY EXPRESS MD


The Newspaper Boss Pleaded Guilty for Uttering False Documents
Banjul, The Gambia (TNBES) A publication by the Daily Observer Newspaper on Wednesday 13th January, 2010 stated that the presiding Judge, Justice Joseph Wowo of The High Court in Banjul has sentenced the Managing Director of Daily Express Newspaper in The Gambia, Chibuzo Oguike to serve one year custodial sentence after he (the accused) pleaded guilty to a criminal offence of uttering false documents.
The Daily Express boss was charged with five counts forgery, obtaining goods by false pretence, obtaining credit by false pretence, making documents without lawful authority, and making documents, contrary to the laws of The Gambia.
The accused com convict was alleged to have gone to the International Commercial Bank and requested to be granted an overdraft facility of D25, 000 claiming that he has a contract with Gamcel worth D151, 000.
The accused was alleged to have presented contract documents from Gamcel (a GSM Company) to the Bank and the Bank requested the accused to bring an overtaking letter from Gamcel to remit all payments due to him into his account with the said Bank.


Consequently, the convict using a Gamcel letterhead paper uttered a forged undertaking letter purported to have been written by Modou Jallow of Gamcel accounts department and presented it to the Bank.
Based on this misrepresentation, an overdraft facility of D25, 000 was granted to him for one month. Latter, the Bank enquired from the accused if Gamcel did not pay him for the contract, and he responded that Gamcel called him to pick up the payment cheque.
The Bank made further enquires from Gamcel management why the funds were not deposited in the accused account, in response; Gamcel management informed the Bank that they were not aware of such a deal.
In the course of investigations conducted by the police, the accused admitted committing the alleged offence. He was charged and when he was arraigned before the Court, he pleaded guilty to three counts out of the five. He was therefore convicted on the three counts.
The publication said that in his plea of mitigation, the defence Counsel, Lawyer Uzoma Achigbue told the court that the accused’s wife has newly delivered a baby; unfortunately the wife is very ill, owing to a post natal complication. Uzoma also called on the court to be lenient with the accused in passing judgement.
However, the Deputy Director of Public Prosecution (DDPP), Mikailu Abdullahi urged the court to pass the sentence on the accused having regard to the punishment prescribed under the section of for the offence.
The DDPP further urged the court to exercise its discretion judicially and judiciously having regard not only for the interest of the accused, but also the need to protect the society from such criminal acts.
In passing the sentence, Justice Joseph Wowo condemned the act of the accused as barbaric. “The accused was sentenced to pay a fine of D5000 in default to serve one year imprisonment for the offence of forgery; D2000 for the offence of obtaining credit by false pretence and in default to serve six months imprisonment; and one year imprisonment ‘without any option of a fine’ for the offence of uttering false documents,” Daily Observer Newspaper reported. VOL:2 ISSN:27

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