Saleh Barkun disclosed that his office recently received the case file from the police and they will likely file indictments on Tuesday evening. This disclosure was made when the case was mentioned yesterday afternoon.
The officials to face charges are Mrs Ada Gaye, the former permanent secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture, Mr Fafanding Fatajo, the project coordinator of Food and Agriculture Sector Development Project (Fasdep), Mr Omar Jammeh, the financial controller of Fasdep, Dr Abdou Ceesay, director of Department of Livestock Services and Mr Foday Jadama, deputy director of Soil and Water Management Services.
Unlike the last time when the case was mentioned, Mrs Ada and all the four men were present in court. The case was first heard at the high court last December but the accused persons who were then held at the National Intelligence Agency were not brought to court. The state was ordered by the judge, Simon Abi, to produce them on January 20.
A judicial source said they were released about two weeks ago and are expected to take their plea when case resumes on February 11.
The five agric officials were arraigned at the Banjul Magistrates Court on October 14 on eight charges of economic crime, neglect of official duty, abuse of office and conspiracy to commit felony charges.
The case was transferred to the high court after the magistrate, Nyima Samateh, granted them bail in the sum of D3 million each. But only Ada Gaye and Omar Jammeh were released from custody after meeting bail conditions. However, they were re-arrested and held at the NIA.
The officials are accused of paying D700,000 and D527,349.55 to one Foday Jadama for training of Fasdep beneficiaries in upland conservation which was neither conducted and nor was the money retired by Foday Jadama.
Prosecutors further accused them of paying D197,250 to one Dr Abdou Ceesay to train 20 extension workers in poultry production within four days, but ended up training only 10 people (half of the targeted number), an act which they say is detrimental to the economy of The Gambia.
It is also alleged that the accused persons conspired among themselves and recommended the appointment of Omar Jammeh as the acting project coordinator of Fasdep to the African Development Bank.
They all pleaded not guilty before the matter was transferred to the High Court. It is not clear whether the prosecutors will maintain the same charges or bring more charges. The accused persons were represented by Lamin Camara and Sheriff Gambado.]]>