Friday, June 10, 2011

AT THE COURTS.......


  • City Court rejects ‘jurisdiction claims’ in economic crimes trial 
  • Trial of NAPSA executive adjourned
  • Chinese national denies killing a Jeshwang resident
  • Senior agriculture officials’ theft trial hangs, Investigations involved many government institutions 
  • Charges against Pristine to be settled out of Court    
  • GAMCOTRAP: June 15 set for ruling on ‘no case to answer’

Trial of NAPSA executive adjourned
A non-procedure of the criminal trial involving three top members of the National Patriotic Student Association, NAPSA on May 30 was as a result of the absence of the lead defence counsel Gaye Cooker.
Denis T. Gomez, Jarga E. Gaye and Babucarr Jallow, all of whom are executive members of the pro-government student body, NAPSA, are standing trial on two counts of “forgery” and “uttering false document”. They have since pleaded not-guilty to the charges.
On Monday, when the case was called before Magistrate Alagbe Taiwo Ade of the Banjul Magistrate Court, Counsel Assan Martin applied for an adjournment on grounds that the lead Counsel, Gaye Cooker who is in possession of the proceeding record is sick. In this regard, lawyer Martin said he cannot proceed with the case. His application was granted and the trial has been rescheduled to continue on 8 June, 2011.

Chinese national denies killing a Jeshwang resident
Mr Lijiang, a Chinese national, who appeared June 1, 2011 at the Kanifing Municipal Court presided by Magistrate Fatou Lili Drammeh, has denied killing Cherno Dahaba, a resident of Jeshwang.
Mr Lijiang is standing trial on two counts: murder and negligence. The charge sheet reads: Count one, rash or negligent act causing death contrary to Section 221 (A) of the Criminal Code Cap 10 Revised Laws of The Gambia 2009.
The particulars of offence stated that Lijiang on or about the 28th May 2011 at Serrekunda-Banjul Highway opposite printing department in the Kanifing Municipality Republic of The Gambia, he drove a motor vehicle (Nissan) with registration No: URD1859A in a negligent manner causing the death of one Cherno Dahaba of New Jeshwang and thereby committed an offence.
Count: Dangerous driving contrary to Section 49 (1) of the Motor Traffic Amendment Act Cap 70:03 Volume III Revised Laws of The Gambia 2009.
The particulars of offence indicated that Lijiang on or about the 28th May 2011 at Serrekunda-Banjul Highway opposite printing department in the Kanifing Municipality Republic of The Gambia, he drove a motor vehicle (Nissan) registration No: URD1859A in a dangerous manner, causing the death of one Cherno Dahaba of New Jeshwang and thereby committed an offence.
Mr. Lijiang was granted bail in the sum of D100, 000 with one Gambian surety. Hearing continues on 14 June 2011.

Senior agriculture officials’ theft trial hangs
Investigations involved many government institutions
The Gambia’s capital city Magistrate Court has adjourned the theft trial, the State versus five senior agriculture officials’ sine die (without arranging a date for another sitting).
The lower Court in Banjul, presided by Magistrate Alagbe Taiwo Ade on June 1, 2011 decided it is suspending the trial until such a time the Prosecution is ready to proceed with their case.
Two Permanent Secretaries Dr. Amadou Sowe and Abdurrahman Jobe; Mr. Momodou Mbye Jabang, project manager; Mr. Bakary L.O. Sonko, deputy director of agriculture; and Mr. Mustapha Jatta, an accountant, are standing trial of one count of theft.
However, they have pleaded not-guilty to the charge.
On Wednesday, police prosecutor superintendent Sainey Joof applied for an adjournment, noting that investigations into the case are yet to be completed.
“The investigation into the matter involved many institutions within the government. The prosecution thought the investigation was going to be completed within a short time,” he said.
Magistrate Taiwo then noted that that the prosecution has not called any witness to commence the trial since the case was mention. However, he stressed that any further adjournment by the court would “not do justice” to the accused persons.
But warns that discharging the accused persons does not means it’s the end of the case. The prosecution could come back at any time if they are ready to proceed with the case after the completion of their investigations.
When he took his turn, the Lead defence counsel Mr. Antouman Gaye, who is standing in for the accused alongside Mr. Lamin S. Camara, reminded the Court that during the last adjournment date, the Court had ordered that the prosecution should complete the investigations, which according to him was not obeyed.
He accused the Prosecution of always giving “lame excuses” and therefore, reiterated the Magistrate’s position that any further adjournment of the case by the Court “would not do justice” to the accused persons.
“Since the case has not commenced proceedings, it would not be fair to the accused persons to grant any further adjournments, and one alternative for the court, is to adjourn the case sine die,” he said.
This was heeded to by Magistrate Taiwo, who subsequently adjourned the case until such a time that the prosecution is ready to proceed with their case.


Charges against Pristine to be settled out of Court
Criminal charges of “economic crime”, “theft” and “conspiracy” to defraud the Government of The Gambia brought against Mr Assan Touray, the chief technology engineer of Pristine Consulting are set to be settled out of Court.
Assan Touray was charged together with the Chief Executive Officer of Pristine Abdourahman Touray, who is on the run since declared wanted by the National Drug Enforcement Agency, the NDEA.
On June 2, 2011, the Special Criminal Division of the High Court in Banjul presided by Justice Joseph Enwa Ikpala decided the matter be settled out of court based on the consent of the State and the Defence.
Mr Assan Touray was yet to take his plea and was granted bail to the tune of 10 million Dalasis with two Gambian sureties who most deposit their title deeds to the Court valued at D10 million each and situated within the Greater Banjul Area.
On Thursday, the Deputy Director of Special Litigation Simoe Abi applied for a two-week adjournment, saying the State intends to settle the matter out of court.
His stance was not objected to by Defence Counsel Ida Drammeh.
The Judge then decided to adjourn the case till June 16, 2011 for the State to come up with its proposal.
According to the charge, the company, Pristine Consulting, is the first accused, its CEO Abdourahman Touray, the second accused and Mr Assan Touray, the third accused.
The Company was contracted by the Gambia Government in 2010 to provide Gambians with Biometric Identity Cards.

City Court rejects ‘jurisdiction claims’ in economic crimes trial
The Banjul City Magistrate Court has rejected an application filed by Defence Counsel Lamin S. Camara that the lower court lacks jurisdiction to try economic crime suspect, Mr Edward Graham.
In his ruling, Magistrate Taiwo Alagbe in his ruling stated that he is totally in disagreement with Counsel Lamin Camara that the court lacks jurisdiction to try Mr Graham.
“The offence with which the accused person is charged with does not fall under the categories of offences which my court lacks jurisdiction to try,” Taiwo said.
He therefore overruled the application and ordered for the continuation of the case.
Mr Graham, former Managing Director of the Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation has since denied charges of “economic crime” and “abuse of office”.  

GAMCOTRAP: June 15 set for ruling on ‘no case to answer’
The Banjul City Court has set June 15 for the ruling on the ‘no case to answer” submission made by Counsel Amie Bensouda in the trial of two senior women rights activist.
Dr. Isatou Touray, executive director, and Mrs Amie Bojang Sissoho, programme Manager of Gambia Committee Against Harmful Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children (GAMCOTRAP) are standing trial on one count of theft before Magistrate Alagbe Taiwo Ade of the Banjul Magistrate Court.
They have denied any wrong doing.
The lead Defence Counsel Amie Bensouda filed a written brief of a no case to answer submission during the previous sitting. However, on 2nd June, 2011, Police Prosecutor Superintendent Sainey Joof argued that the prosecution has called eight witnesses to prove their case and urges the court to dismiss the submission and let the accused persons enter their defence.
The prosecution had closed its case since but the defence said the accused has not a case to answer. Dr. Touray and Mrs Bojang are accused of stealing €32, 000.

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