By Baba Sillah
Justice Sainabou Wadda-Cisse of the High Court in Banjul has referred the economic crime case involving six people to the chief justice for reassignment.
The trial judge made the order yesterday when the case resumed for plea taking. However, the case could not be heard due to the absence of one of the accused persons prompting the judge to refer the matter to the chief justice for reassignment.
Justice Wadda-Cisse also pointed out to the parties that the day was her last mandate as vacation judge to preside and hear cases during the vacation period and the only justice she could do was to refer the matter to the chief justice for reassignment.
The accused persons, Lamin Bobo Jatta, Cherno Darboe, Mike Junior K Akimade, Omar Mbaye, Saloum Fatty and Alpha Sanyang are being tried on nine counts charges ranging from economic crimes, conspiracy, destroying evidence to obtaining goods by false pretence among other related charges.
According to the particulars of offence between 2015 to February 2018 the men conspired to fraudulently collect D248,250 from taxpayers in Brikama which they diverted for their private use.
Prosecutors further alleged that the accused persons caused monetary loss to the Government of The Gambia to the same amount by making false receipts of the Gambia Revenue Authority for taxpayers and collected money for their own use.
Darboe, Akimade, and Omar Mbaye, were also charged with conspiring to forge GRA stamps containing the words “Commissioner of Stamp Duties, GRA Banjul, Brusubi and Brikama”, as well as forging several signatures on fake tax receipts.
They were also charged with failing to register their business.
Mr Darboe is charged with destroying evidence by burning fake stamps which he used to process fake receipts for fear that it might be used as evidence against him.