Buba Beyai was arraigned yesterday at the Banjul Magistrates Court before Magistrate Nyima Samateh slammed with a single count of publishing false news. He is accused of negligently publishing through a telephone call to one Bakary Dahaba in April that the director general of NIA has been dismissed from his position, information he knew to be false. Mr Beyai who spoke in Mandinka pleaded not guilty.
However, he was granted bail in the sum D300,000 or two Gambian sureties who must enter into recognition in like sum and deposit their identity cards with the registrar of the court. Magistrate Samateh also ordered that Mr Beyai surrender his travelling documents before he could be released on bail from state custody.
Mr Beyai was granted bail after he urged the court to release him on bail: “I’m a family man and feeding 17 people. I’m a Gambian. I have been working for 18 years and five years with the NIA. I was dismissed. I’m appealing to the court to exercise mercy and grant me bail.”
State Prosecutor Abdourahman Bah earlier asked the court to remand Mr Beyai before the next adjourned date on September 18. When asked by the magistrate if investigations are still ongoing, prosecutor Bah said he was not sure.
“We are opposing bail on the ground that the accused before his dismissal was the deputy director of operations at the NIA and as such he has the opportunity to interfere with witnesses and witnesses in this matter are intelligence officers who were his juniors,” the state counsel said.
Despite this argument, Magistrate Samateh said the accused was entitled to bail. “I must state that bail is in the discretion of the court and should be exercised judiciously. Since the offence which the accused is charged with is a bailable offence, the court shall exercise its discretion to grant bail to the accused,” she ruled.]]>