By Bruce Asemota
After issuing an arrest warrant for Banta Keita, a suspect in the recent massive cocaine seizure, Principal Magistrate Seedy K.Jobarteh of Banjul Magistrates’ Court has remanded his co-accused, Sheriff Njie to prison custody.
Principal Magistrate Jobarteh made this order pursuant to an application made by one Raymond Jarju, the director of legal affairs for Drug Law Enforcement Agency (DLEAG) when Sheriff Njie was arraigned before the court on three counts of criminal charges preferred against him.
Magistrate Jobarteh disclosed that Banta Keita holds a French passport and he is currently at large.
In taking his plea, Sheriff Njie who was unrepresented by a lawyer, pleaded not guilty to all three counts.
“I don’t know anything about the cocaine. I am a fish monger”, he told the court.
Magistrate Jobarteh refused to grant Sheriff Njie bail, and remanded him in prison custody pending his bail application to the High Court.
The matter was adjourned to 26 January, 2021 for hearing.
On count one, the statement of offence stated ‘aggravated drug trafficking contrary to Section 43a(1) of the Drug Control (Amendment) Act 2010, punishable under section 43A of the Drug Control (Amendment ) Act 2011.
The particulars of offence stated that on or about the 7th January, 2021, Sheriff Njie and Banta Keita (at large) at the port of Banjul had in his possession 2 tons, 952kg, 850 grams of cocaine, a prohibited drug under the first schedule of the Drug Control Act.
Whilst the statement of offence in count two stated dealing in prohibited drug for the purpose of trafficking contrary to section 33(1) (b) of the Drug Control Act Cap 13:05, Vol III, laws of the Gambia.
The particulars of offence stated Sheriff Njie and Banta Keita on the 7th January, 2021 at the port of Banjul were involved in the importation of 118 bags of cocaine into the Gambia, a prohibited drug weighing 2 tons, 952kg 850 grams.
Statement of offence in count three disclosed conspiracy contrary to section 53(1) (a) of the Drug Control Act, Cap 13:05, Laws of the Gambia.
The particulars of offence stated that Sheriff Njie and Banta Keita (at large) on or about the 7th January, 2021 at the port of Banjul conspired amongst themselves to import 118 bags of cocaine into the Gambia weighing 2 tons, 952kg, 850 grams.