Mr Bakary Nyassi appeared at the Banjul Magistrates Court charged with six counts including economic crimes, abuse of office, stealing and neglect of official duty.
Mr Nyassi is accused of not returning D120,000 given to him as per diem allowance to escort 127 APRC pilgrims to Saudi Arabia in 2011 after it was cancelled.
He is also accused of corruptly or dishonestly abusing his office for private benefit by registering or facilitating the registration of a private aviation related company, Gamjet and Basikom, in which he holds 27% and 12% shares in 2007 and 2014.
He is also accused of having neglected his duty for not strictly supervising offices under him entrusted with receipts and expenditure of public monies between 2009 and 2014.
Nyassi, 43, denied the charges.
After the plea-taking, Kebba Sanyang, lawyer representing Mr Nyassi applied for bail. But police prosecutor, Sub-Inspector Badjie said: “I want to ask the court not to grant bail to the accused person because by virtue of Section 62 of the criminal procedure code I think the accused person should not be granted bail.”
Lawyer Sanyang, however argued that the offences for which his client were charged were bailable. He told the court that a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty as has been stated in the constitution. “Section 62, sub-section 2 gives this court an unfettered discretion to grant bail to the accused given the fact that the accused has been in custody. I urge this court to grant bail to the accused person because the court has the discretion to do so. We want this discretion to be exercised judiciously.”
In his ruling, Magistrate Dawda Jallow granted bail to Mr Nyassi in the sum of D1 million by two Gambian sureties. He further asked the accused to surrender all his travel documents and be reporting to the Banjul Police Station every Monday and Thursday. The case is now transferred to the high court in Banjul.]]>