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Dr Banja’s bail application set for ruling

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By Binta A Bah

The Gambia Court of Appeal has set 13 June for ruling on the bail application of former Fisheries Permanent Secretary Bamba Banja pending the final determination of the appeal against his conviction.

At panel of three judges led by Justice Na Ceesay Sallah-Wadda will deliver its decision following the adoption of briefs of arguments from Banja’s lawyer, Abdoulie Fatty and the prosecutor, Rakey Duanda standing for Saikou Lamin Jobarteh.

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Banja was sentenced in March to a two-year mandatory jail term for allegedly accepting D100,000 bribe from a Chinese private company in September 2018. He was also fined one million dalasis for causing economic loss to The Gambia government.

Dissatisfied with the decision of the High Court, Banja brought an appeal against the decision to the appeals court seeking the quashing of the decision of the High court. His lawyer wants him bailed pending determination of the appeal.

In his argument Lawyer Aboulie Fatty said his client will likely suffer serious medical harm if his bail application is refused and that harm is real, imminent and genuine. He stated that no miscarriage of justice would be engendered, as the state would not be prejudiced if the application is granted, pending the outcome of the hearing and determination of the substantive appeal.

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“The applicant had adduced good grounds/reasons to justify the granting of bail pending appeal,” he said. “The discretion of this court must be exercised judicially and judiciously taking into consideration all the circumstances of the case as a whole,” Fatty said.

However, the prosecution argued that Banja has not disclose or provide any unusual reasons that would allow the Court of Appeal to consider his bail application.

“The applicant is said to be suffering from hypertension and diabetes type 1 which is understood to be the most severe type of diabetes. There is however no medical or diagnostic report indicating or detailing that the applicant is indeed a high blood or a type 1 diabetic patient,” the prosecution stated in their briefing.

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