Court orders disciplinary action against 2 police officers
Friday, August 10, 2012
Edrissa F. Mbai of the High Court in Banjul has ordered that disciplinary
action be taken against two police officers; Inspector Pa Amadou Sowe, the
Station Officer of Kotu Police Station and one Inspector Matarr Sanyang also of
Kotu Police Station and any other police officer found wanting in releasing one
Alfina Tamba to escape from the jurisdiction.
Justice Mbai made this order on Thursday, August 9, 2012, whilst delivering a ruling on a bail application filed by two persons, Fatou Kah and Khadijatou Ceesay who stood as sureties for the said Alfina Tamba, a defendant in the civil suit filed by one Jaak Jozef Vervliet.
The plaintiff, Jaak Jozef Vervliet’s claim by a writ of summons filed on the 27th June 2012 is as follows;
(a) A declaration that the sum of D1, 000, 000.00 (one Million Dalasis) being the value of treasury bills purchased by the plaintiff and the defendant (Alfina Tamba) is held by the defendant in trust for the plaintiff.
(b) The sum of D1, 000, 000.00(one million dalasis) being the value of the said treasury bills owned and purchased by the plaintiff in the name of himself and the defendant which said Bills the defendant fraudulently rediscounted and misappropriated for her sole use and benefit without the knowledge, consent and authority of the plaintiff.
(c) Damages for conversion.
(d) Damages for fraud.
(e) Interest at the rate of 30% per annum from the 13th July 2011 to date of judgement and thereafter at the rate of 4%per annum to date of payment.
On the 5th July 2012, counsel for the plaintiff, Mrs R.Y. Mendy made an application for the defendant, Alfina Tamba to be arrested and be brought before the said court to provide good and sufficient security for her appearance pending the determination of the said suit. Following the said application, the High Court, presided over by Justice Edrissa Mbai made an interim order;
(1) That the defendant (Alfina Tamba) be arrested and brought before the said court on Tuesday 10th July 2012 at 2:00pm.
(2)That upon her appearance on the said date the defendant shall show cause why she should not provide good and sufficient bail for her appearance pending the determination of the said suit.
(3)That the defendant when arrested may be granted bail in the sum of one million dalasis with two Gambian sureties in the like sum who shall deposit their title deeds of two leasehold properties located within the jurisdiction.
The defendant was subsequently arrested and detained at Kotu Police Station together with the warrant and the court order. Inspite of the court order and the amount involved, the police at Kotu Police Station allowed two Gambian women, Fatou Kah and Khadijatou Ceesay to bail the defendant that very night with mere I.D cards. Both the station officer, Inspector Pa Amadou Sowe and Inspector Matarr Sanyang were ordered to come and explain why the order of the court was not followed or complied with.
The station officer, Inspector Pa Amadou Sowe, said he was not on duty when the defendant Alfina Tamba was granted bail and that in any case he instructed Inspector Sanyang not to grant bail to the defendant but the Inspector acted contrary to his instruction by granting the defendant bail.
Even though the station officer, Inspector Sowe has the powers to take disciplinary action against the Inspector, he did nothing. The Inspector said he acted according to what Modou Musa Ceesay, a court Bailiff told him i.e, the defendant can be granted bail by two Gambian sureties.
Even if it is true that Modou Musa Ceesay did inform him that the defendant can be granted bail by two Gambian sureties, he was also given the order of the court of the 5th July, 2012 which expressly laid down the conditions that need to be satisfied before the defendant could be granted bail. The Inspector admitted he was given the warrant and the order of the court by the bailiff, Modou Musa Ceesay.
Justice Mbai however disclosed that in spite of the flagrant flouting of the court’s order by the Inspector by allowing the said sureties, Fatou Kah and Khadijatou Ceesay bail the defendant, Alfina Tamba by depositing mere I.D Cards, the station officer did not even give the Inspector a warning letter, but indicated that in his 29 years as a police officer he has never taken any disciplinary action against a junior officer, instead he only cautions them verbally.
Justice Mbai noted that the Inspector having allowed the defendant (Alfina Tamba) to escape made no attempt to have her re-arrested. He remarked that the conduct of the police at Kotu Police Station in particular the S.O, Pa Amadou Sowe and Inspector Matarr Sanyang by letting the defendant escape with the help of two Gambian women who merely deposited their I.D cards to facilitate the said crime is most undesirable and highly unprofessional.
Justice Mbai further remarked that with all the efforts the state is making to make The Gambia a model in Africa by fighting crime, corruption and their causes to the extent of setting up Operation Bulldozer, it is quite unfortunate that these two police officers who have reached the rank of Inspector with 29 and 30 years of service in the police force respectfully would be found wanting in contempt of the order of the court.
He reiterated that the said court made an order for the arrest of the defendant, who was arrested and taken to Kotu Police Station. Justice Mbai said she was released and let to go that very night with the help of two Gambian women who only provided their I.D cards even though the plaintiff’s claim is for the sum of one million dalasis. “How could this happen when the police have been issued with a copy of the order of the court expressly stating the conditions that must be satisfied first before granting the defendant bail,” Justice Mbai queried.
He declared that since the police are under the purview of the Inspector General of Police (IGP), he would therefore order that the IGP look into the conduct of these two officers, i.e the Station Officer, Pa Amadou Sowe and Inspector Matarr Sanyang of Kotu Police Station and any other officer (s) that may be found wanting in releasing the defendant, Alfina Tamba to escape the jurisdiction, contrary to the express orders of the said court dated 5th July 2012. He also ordered for the IGP to take appropriate and necessary disciplinary action which powers he has by virtue of his position so as to restore public confidence in the Gambia Police Force.
Author: Sidiq Asemota