Principal Magistrate Kebba Baldeh of the Banjul Magistrates’ Court on Monday threatened to release Fisheries Departmnt’s head of Monitoring, Control and Surveillance unit, if the prosecution fail to bring the withdrawal letter of its case to court.
After receiving information that the accused person; Ebou Mass Mbaye, who is facing false claim trial was re-instated, the prosecution announced its intention to withdraw the case from the court and promised to bring the withdrawal letter to that effect but failed to do so on several occasions.
The position of the trial magistrate came after Mr Mbaye’s defence Lawyer E Sanneh informed the court that the prosecution was not present in court and that he had in the previous sittings made an application for the matter to be strucked out for lack of diligent prosecution but the court accorded the prosecution an opportunity to come back.
The prosecuting officer Inspector S Sanyang, who came into the court room late craved the court’s indulgence for an adjournment on the grounds that they are still waiting for the withdrawal letter.
But lawyer Sanneh argued that they have heard series of excuses from the prosecution, saying as it stands his client is not a free person as he is not allowed to travel out of the jurisdiction. He said his cleint is still on court bail with naturally restricted conditions attached.
Sanneh submitted that the accused person’s constitutional right under Section 19 of 1997 Constitution has been violated and it is the prosecution that filed the charge against him and the State reinstated him to his office again.
He further submitted that in view of the circumstance, the matter should be entirely strucked out and the accused person to be acquitted and discharged. The presiding magistrate in his ruling gave the prosecution a definite adjournment.
Ebou Mass Mbaye is alleged to have in his capacity as head of Monitoring, Control and Surveillance Unit of the Department of Fisheries failed to verify a bill that he presented to the Office of the President which amounted to D2, 677. 600.00, equivalent to 89, 066Kgs of various fish species in the month of January 2016 in Banjul.
He is also alleged to have in the same month and place abused the authority of his office and presented a bill to the Office of the President which amounted to D2, 677. 600.00, equivalent to 89, 066Kgs of various fish species without the consent of his office director and without verification.
The case was adjourned to 24th November 2016.
by Lama S Jallow