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Sunday, September 25, 2022

Banta Keita’s application to unfreeze his properties and accounts dismissed

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By Bruce Asemota

The High Court in Banjul, presided over by Justice Ebrima Jaiteh, has dismissed application filed by Banta Keita to unfreeze his properties and various bank accounts.

Justice Ebrima Jaiteh made this ruling yesterday in a suit between the Drug Law Enforcement Agency (DLEAG), Director General of DLEAG and the Attorney General and Minister of Justice against Banta Keita.

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Banta Keita, through his legal counsel, Sheriff M. Tambadou filed a motion urging the court to grant a stay of execution of the orders of the High Court made on the 11th March, 2022 granting a freezing injunction attaching Banta’s properties situated at Fajara.

An order to set aside and / or review the order of the said court made on the 11th March, 2022 or in the alternative to release all his property situated at Fajara.

Justice Jaiteh disclosed that with regard to the issue as to whether the court should set aside its order made on the 11th March, 2022 the court noted that the purpose of the application is seeking for a forfeiture of a person’s property where information alleged a criminal conduct and the person absconds from the jurisdiction.

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The trial Judge further noted that the application is different in nature and circumstances from the information before the High Court at Mile 7.

He stated that there is no abuse of court process if an application for forfeiture is handled by a different Judge of the same coordinate jurisdiction, therefore, the ex-parte application granted on the 11th March, 2022 is not an abuse of court process.

Regarding the issue as to whether the court should release all the property situated at Fajara citing the deed of assignment, Justice Jaiteh disclosed that the matter cannot be entertained at this stage because it is in its interlocutory stage.

Regarding the application for the court to stay the order it made on the 11th March, 2022 freezing the Banta Keita’s bank accounts, the trial Judge stated that it is discretionary based on exceptional circumstances of each case.

He noted that granting a stay of execution is discretionary and such discretion must be exercised judicially and judiciously according to sound and well-considered reasons whilst bearing in mind the demand of justice for both sides.

Justice Jaiteh stated that the averments of the affidavit in support of Banta Keita’s application did not disclose any special circumstances to warrant the court grant a stay of execution and he accordingly dismissed the notice of motion as lacking merit.

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