Twenty-four government officials, including permanent secretaries, deputy permanent secretaries, chief drivers and drivers of various government ministries and departments who are facing negligent and abuse of office charges have been granted bail by Principal Magistrate Kebba Baldeh of the Banjul Magistrates’ Court in the sum of D250, 000 each with two Gambian sureties who must deposit title deed within the Greater Banjul Area.
This development came after the police prosecutor, Inspector S Sanyang applied to substitute the previous charges with a new one which was not opposed by the defence counsel for the accused persons.
Abdoulie Jallow, Dr Cherno Omar Barry, Abdoulie KM Jallow, Lamin Camara, Lamin Sanneh, Tijan Jeng, Jerreh Sanyang, Malang Jammeh, Momodou Lamin Jammeh, Masaikou M. Marong, John Belford, Yaya Drammeh, Ebrima Sanneh, Sambou Nget, Kebba Faal, Nfamara Dampha, Lamin Mai Touray, Lamin Juwara, Saikou Sidibeh, Momodou C Joof, Alieu Jammeh, Abdoulie M Cham, Morro Krubally and Kantong Jallow are alleged to have neglected their duties to engage the services of a qualified mechanic/engineer to assess and diagnose the conditions of vehicles under their purview leading to their wrong identification of vehicles for auction between the years 2014 and 2016 in the Banjul and diverse places.
Prosecution also accused them of abusing their office by identifying government vehicles for auction knowing fully well that they have no expertise knowledge to do that, leading to their identification of wrong vehicles for auction. They all pleaded not guilty to the allegations.
Lawyer Y Senghore, defence counsel for the 24th accused person applied for the court to admit his client on bail pursuant to Section 19 and 24 of the Constitution, stating that the charges are misdemeanor and that some of the accused persons were earlier granted bail.
E Sanneh, defence lawyer for the 13th accused person said a bench warrant was issued for his client’s arrest on 14th November and now that he in court and already taken his plea, he would urged the court to discharged the bench warrant against him.
The lawyer equally urged the court to grant bail to the accused persons pursuant to Section 99 of the Criminal Procedure Code and Section 19 of the Constitution.
In his ruling, the presiding magistrate accordingly granted bail to the accused persons but maintained that the bail that was earlier admitted to some of the accused persons should continue and their sureties must depose their national identity cards to the registry of court.
Malang Jammeh, a driver who was granted bail but could not fulfill the condition said he has been in remand for 5 months and 21 days. He said he has landed properties at Siffoe but they are yet to be leased. A similar appeal was made by Ebrima Sanneh and Kebba Faal who all said their lands are not leased.
The case is adjourned to 8th December, 2016 at 1pm.
by Lama S Jallow