Court: No bail for 2 ex-GRA officials
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
In separate but similar developments yesterday, June 19th, 2012, two former top officials of the Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) seeking bail at the High Court in Banjul, in connection to over a D2BN economic crime charge, got their various applications filed in before two separate judges turned down due to incomplete state investigations into the matter.
However, Bakary Sanyang, ex-commissioner general of GRA, through his defence counsel Badou Conteh filed his bail application at the Special Criminal Court presided over by Justice Emmanuel Nkea, while Musukebba Corr, ex-director of Domestic Tax at GRA, through her defence counsel Hawa Sisay-Sabally, filed her application before Justice Mikailu Abdulahi at the said High Court. However, both Musukebba Corr and Bakary Sanyang got their bail applications denied due to incomplete investigations into the matter, as indicated in the holding charges pressed against the accusedpersons.
The Special Criminal Court first made its ruling on the application of the ex-GRA boss. As usual with similar applications submitted by both the defence and state counsel, Justice Nkea made an extensive review of the history of the bail application made by defence counsel Badou Conteh on 11th June, 2012, and the affidavit in opposition made by the director of Public Prosecution (DPP) SH Barkun.
According to the SCC presiding judge, the defence filed in their application on June 11th , 2012, pursuant to Section 99 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) and Section 19 (4) of the Constitution of the Republic of The Gambia,followed a four-paragraph affidavit in opposition filed in by the DPP.
Nkea noted that the defence counsel contended that his client was arrested and
detained and the defence bail application is meant to solicit his bail on the
grounds that the applicant once granted bail will not jump bail and he will be
available in court pending the determination of the trial in court. The High
Court Judge at that juncture announced that he has listened carefully to the
submission made from both sides of the matter and the issue of concern is that,
whether the accused person once granted bail will jump or not.
made the judge to read the interpretation of Section 19 of the Constitution of
the Republic of The Gambia with regards to arrest and detention of the accused
persons, investigations and keeping of accused persons pending completion of
investigations and the Constitutional rights of accused persons.
Nkea said in the instance case, the accused person was arrested and brought
before the court within 72 hours of his arrest inline with Section 19 of the
Constitution, therefore the said constitutional provision was complied. He quoted
the Common Law provision on presumption of innocent of an accused person and
later made a citation of different decided cases including LK Mboge against the
state, among others to back-up his ruling on the matter.
to the presiding judge, the following facts have to be considered in granting
bail such as the nature of the offence, the likelihood of the accused jumping
bail, the likelihood of the accused interfering witness(s), among others. “I have
been informed that the accused person (applicant) has a clean bill of criminal
records, he was the commissioner general of the Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA)
and has significant influence.
I hold that, continuous detention of the accused will not violate Section 19 (4) of the Constitution of The Gambia, as the state is said to be still on investigation of the matter and are yet to file a formal charge(s) against the accused,” Justice Nkea observed. But he warned the state to expedite its investigation into the matter and bring charge(s) against the accused on or before the next adjourned date Monday 25th June 2012, failure of which, the court will grant bail to the accused person, Bakary Sanyang.
Justice Nkea then announced that the court will at this juncture make an order for continuous detention of the accused pending the completion of investigations and formal filing of a formal charge(s) against the accused on the next adjourned date.
Justice Mikailu’s ruling on Musukebba Corr
The next ruling was delivered by Justice Mikailu on the bail application made by Lawyer Hawa Sisay-Sabally. The Judge also made a similar review of the application brought before his court with citation of different decided cases on bail applications and the need to consider facts such as the nature of the offence, the quality of evidence, seriousness of the offence, likelihood of the accused jumping bail, and continuous detention of the accused, among others.
“I shall look at issues relating to the case at hand, especially on the holding charge. The personal responsibility of the accused person to the public and the need to exercise extra care in the discharge of those duties. The applicant tends to rely on an ill-health and the issue remain whether continuous detention will endanger the health of the accused person,” the high court judge said, before making reference to what he called determinant of a bail application, especially the one at hand.
According to Justice Mikailu, affidavits are determinants of a bail application and affidavit one, which is in support of the applicant’s application made reference to the economic crime charge pressed against her (the accused). He then cited different cases decided on economic crime both within and outside The Gambia. He said in the instance case, the charge is a very serious one as contained in affidavits in support of the bail application and the court therefore refused bail to the applicant.
Author: Sanna Jawara