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City of Banjul
Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Court dismisses prosecution’s request to cross-examine Njogu Bah in lawyer’s absence

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The trial of the former secretary-general and head of civil service, Dr Njogu Bah, stalled yesterday at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court because his attorney, Lamin Mboge, was reported ill and could not be in court.

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Both the state counsel, Mansour Jobe and the accused, Njogu Bah, were present when the case was called before principal magistrate, Dawda Jallow, for continuation of cross-examination of Dr Bah by state prosecutor.

“I have been informed that my lawyer is sick and could not attend the proceeding today,” Bah told the court.

However, the state prosecutor Mansour Jobe cited a certain law which he said gave him the power to proceed with his cross-examination despite the absence of the defence attorney. 

“We intend to proceed despite the absence of the counsel and based on the magnitude of the case and since it is for cross-examination and counsel did not write to inform the court, then we can proceed with the cross-examination of the accused,” state prosecutor said.

The presiding magistrate however decided to adjourn the case until 23 March. 

“The law that gives you the power to proceed is the same law that gives me power to adjourn the case. So are you trying to challenge the decision of the court?” the trial magistrate said.

Dr Njogu Bah, the former secretary-general and head of civil service who was also the minister of presidential affairs, is being tried by state for alleged abuse of office.

Prosecutors alleged that Dr Bah while serving as the secretary-general and head of civil service used his power to appoint Ms Jainaba, a then staffer at foreign affairs, to the United Nations in New York as The Gambia’s representative without due procedures which the prosecutors believed was tantamount to abuse of office. Dr Bah, however, denied any wrong doing maintaining that Ms Jobarteh’s appointment was a proposal that emanated from the Personnel Management Office.

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