George Epps who pleaded guilty to three counts of economic crime, conspiracy to commit felony and cheating was also asked to pay an additional D66,550 being cost of resources used by the state on investigating him.
Mr Epps was accused of causing monetary loss to Gamtel amounting to D139,037.19 by installing a giant sim box which he used to divert international calls from Gamtel’s gateway, an act detrimental to the economy of The Gambia. He was arrested and his room at Sheraton Hotel was searched according to the director of public prosecution Saleh Barkun. He said Gamtel 3G wireless devices, Netpage wireless device, bunch of power cables, 32 Africell sim cards and hundred unused sim cards were among the items recovered. Mr Epps agreed with the prosecution’s narration and the items were tendered as exhibits.
Before Mr Epps was sentenced, his lawyer, Sagarr Jahateh, said the convict was deceived and urged the court to temper mercy with him. “He is an American and has no ties to The Gambia. He left his wife and children in the US for The Gambia and was deceived by individuals who are still at large. He has regretted his actions and has now realised that he had committed an offence which was not known to him. He was unemployed at the time he committed the offence and was only eager to support his family. He admitted that he had been naïve which made him very vulnerable to those wicked people he had worked with. I beg the court to temper justice with mercy,” she pleaded.
But despite the lawyer’s mitigation, Magistrate Lamin Mbaye said: “What is concluded from the entire evidence before me is that an offence has been committed which has caused serious losses to the state by Geoge Epps. The reason the convict travelled all the way from the USA where he belonged to commit such an offence in The Gambia will never be known. But I want to state very clearly that after this trial, the convict will not have the opportunity to do such offences in The Gambia again. I therefore sentence the convict to a fine of D150,312.99. Failure to pay, the convict will serve two years imprisonment. Upon payment, he should be handed over to the Immigration Department for deportation without delay to his country of origin.”
Mr Epps paid the fine.
Man remanded over
D2 million telecom fraud
Meanwhile in a related development, another man was yesterday afternoon arraigned at the Banjul Magistrates Court for causing over D2 million monetary loss to the Gamtel.
State prosecutors slammed one count of economic crime, one count of conspiracy to commit felony and three counts of cheating charges against Eltayyib Abdelgair, all relating to the international calls he diverted from Gamtel.
Mr Abdelgair is accused of causing economic loss to GAMTEL in the amount of D2,220,771 by installing a giant sim box which he used to divert international calls from Gamtel’s international gateway which is detrimental to the economy of the Gambia. He is further accused of obtaining D29,162 from Africell and D23,655 from QCell. Mr Abdelgair did not enter his as his lawyer was not in court.
However, the director of public prosecution urged the court for the case to be adjourned and the accused be remanded. “He was in the custody of the NIA and I think they are tired of keeping him. Owing to the fact that the accused lawyer is not before the court, I urged the court to adjourn the case and order for his remand at mile 2 central prison,” the state chief prosecutor told the court.
Before remanding the accused, Magistrate Lamin Mbaye observed: “The fact the accused informed the court that he has a lawyer, Kebba Sanyang who is not before the court and no reason is communicated for his absence, the matter will be adjourned to September 1 for mention.”]]>