By Bruce Asemota
Justice Ebrima Jaiteh of the High Court in Banjul has ordered the Attorney General and the director general of the Drug Law Enforcement Agency to release the sums of $43,000, €5,500, D12,000, $135,200, €7,000 and D9,000 seized from businessmen Emeka Thompson Uzuegbunam and Edeth Sebastine Chinweinke as undeclared currency at the Banjul International Airport on the 17th March, 2022.
Justice Jaiteh made this order yesterday in a ruling on an application filed by the two persons, seeking the court jurisdiction for a special leave to review its earlier ruling.
The trial judge said the state was duly served with the said notice of motion on the 4th and 13th of July 2022.
Justice Jaiteh said since the order of his court was made pursuant to 51(2) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Combating of Terrorist Financing Act, 2012 and section 104 of the Drugs Control Act, Cap. 13:05, Volume 3, Laws of The Gambia, the Order of his Court was lawfully made and cannot be set aside, but shall be varied in the interest of justice.
Justice Jaiteh further said the High Court appointed the Director General of DLEAG as a trustee of all the currency seized from these applicants pending the outcome of investigation.
Justice Jaiteh disclosed that after six months, the State Counsel is not in opposition and did not file any affidavit in opposition, neither did it challenge the applicant’s dispositions in their affidavits.
Justice Jaiteh however ordered that the Sheriff of The Gambia to open a special account with a reputable bank in the country using some of the funds in opening the said account by using the name of this suit as the account name, pending further orders of his court.
The trial judge ordered the Sheriff of The Gambia to pay the sums of $50,000 to the 1st applicant (EMEKA THOMPSON UZUEGBUNAM) and $15, 000 to the 2nd applicant (EDETH SEBASTINE CHINWEIKE) as reasonable living expenses.
The judge declared that the said sums shall be subjected to taxation by the Gambia Revenue Authority before effecting payments.
He gave DLEAG an extension of six (6) months from the date of this order to conclude their investigations, failure of which the outstanding balance of money shall be released to the applicants subject to further taxation by GRA of the undeclared money.