State prosecution from the Attorney General’s Chamber has filed in a three-count bill of indictment against Sira Wally Ndow-Njai, Gambia’s former Petroleum Minister and 9 others before Justice O Ottaba at the High Court in Banjul.
The charges against Madam Njai alongside Momodou OS Badjie, Fafa Sanyang, Edrissa Mass Jobe, Muntaga Momodou Sallah, Momodou Taal, Seedy Kanyi, Noah Touray, Louise Moses Mendy and Cherno Marena who were all top government officials, ranges from conspiracy to commit a felony and economic crime.
The prosecution alleged on count one of economic crime that the accused persons sometime in the year 2015 in Banjul and diverse places whilst serving in their various capacities as public officers, by willful act or omission caused economic loss to the Government of The Gambia to the tune of $8, 740, 620.00 by signing a contract with March Trading which act is injurious, detrimental and damaging to the economy of The Gambia.
They are also alleged to have by willful act or omission, whilst in their positions as public servants caused economic loss to the Government of The Gambia to the tune of D3, 610, 656.00 being money expended on air tickets and per diem in process of conducting a due diligence mission and the signing of a contract with March Trading which act is injurious, detrimental and damaging to the economy of The Gambia.
On count three of conspiracy, the former top officials are alleged to have conspired amongst themselves to commit felony to wit: by willful act or omission caused economic loss to the government of The Gambia.
They are yet to take their pleas as the case could not make progress during Wednesday’s sitting due to the absence of the 3rd accused persons Fafa Sanyang.
When the case was called, state counsel A Yakubu informed the court that the prosecution had filed a bill of indictment and they are ready to proceed with the case.
Lawyer L S Camara, defence counsel for the 3rd accused Fafa Sanyang reminded the court that his client was not available in court.
He said Fafa Sanyang was granted bail by the court but he was later rearrested by the National Intelligence Agency and in that material time he was speaking to the court to remind it that the 3rd accused was with the NIA. Counsel Camara urged the office of the Director of Public Prosecution to work in ensuring the presence of the said accused in court.
Before adjourning the matter, the presiding judge said in view of the principle of fair hearing, the case cannot preceed without the presence of the 3rd accused person and consequently adjourned the case to the 6th October 2016 at 1pm for mentioning of the case.
The court ordered for the prosecution to ensure service of the indictment to all the accused persons.
Sira Wally Ndow-Njai, former minister of petroleum, Momodou OS Badjie, former Managing Director of Gambia National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC); Fafa Sanyang, former Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Petroleum; Edrissa Mass Jobe, a businessman; Muntaga Momodou Sallah, former Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Petroleum; Momodou Taal; Seedy Kanyi; Noah Touray, former Secretary to Cabinet; Louise Moses Mendy; and Cherno Marena, a former Solicitor General and Legal Secretary were earlier arraigned before a Banjul Magistrates’ Court after been jointly and severally charged with offences ranging from economic crime, conspiracy to commit a felony and neglect of official duties. The case was later transferred to the High Court where it is currently being tried.
by Fatou Sowe