Tuesday, January 1, 2013

He had all the time to flee if he wanted

Banjul Port (Photo: Access Gambia)
He was in court last Friday just to hear a charge of false information, a case brought against him by the police in Banjul, the Gambian capital.

Mr. Abdoulie Tambedou, a former Managing Director of Gambia Ports Authority (GPA) denied giving false information to a public officer when he appeared at the Banjul Magistrates' Court on Dec. 29, 2012.

The prosecution said he had on August 13, 2012 written a petition to the Office of the President, alleging that indiscipline was being meted out to him by the associates and relatives of his predecessor, Momodou Lamin Gibba, by way of making derogatory remarks towards him and the GPA management with intent to make the GPA ungovernable for him. 

The prosecution claim Mr. Tambedou knew this information was false at the time.

The Police prosecutor, Sergeant Manga, who applied for an adjournment to call witnesses, also told the court not to grant Mr. Tambedou bail, that he could tamper with the evidence against him (interfere with witnesses) or even flee the country.

Mr. Tambedou says he could have fled but chooses not to
However, Mr Tambedou, who was notified of the charge and was on police bail since August 2012, said he had all the time to flee, but the integrity of his job would not allow him to jump bail because of “a mere false information charge”.

His lawyer, Lamin S. Camara arrived late and quickly announced his representation of the accused.
“The charge of giving false information is a misdemeanour and therefore the accused has the right to bail subject to the discretion of the court,” he said.

The prosecution has to bring facts before the court to warrant the denial of bail and not just to say the case is being investigated, he argued.

The lower court heard that four of his passports (old and new) are in the custody of the police and as well two of his title deeds situated within the Greater Banjul Area.

Senior Magistrate Momodou M.S. Jallow, presiding, admitted the prosecution should have completed its investigation by now. 

He said remanding the accused person on this charge would equal to abuse or violation of his human rights.
He granted Mr. Tambedou bail in the sum of D1 million or two title deeds with two Gambian sureties who shall swear to an affidavit of means and had their national identity cards in the custody of the court.

However, when the case resumes on January 2, 2013, the prosecution added three more charges: All related to giving false information.

In The Gambia, false information charges usually carry a punishment of a maximum fine of D500 or a custodial sentence of 6 months or both. 

Written by Modou S. Joof

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