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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

GIA, GCAA, 10 others sued for over $1M for missing 19kg gold

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By Bruce Asemota

Alagie Jabbi and Mustapha Jabbie of Jabbi Brothers have instituted a civil suit at the Kanifing High Court against Gambia International Airlines (GIA), Gambia Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), Euro Africa Airlines Security Ltd, Babanding Kanyi, Buba Bojang, Ndey Fatou Gaye, Ebrima Jobarteh, Alimatou Riley, Bakary Sanno, Fatou Bojang, Ismaila Baldeh and Omar Jarju.

The Jabbi brothers are claiming US$1,045,000 or its equivalent in Gambian dalasis being the value of 19 kilogrammes of gold owned by them allegedly converted by these defendants at the Banjul International Airport.

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They are also claiming D3 million as damages. In addition they also asked the court to award on the above sums at the rate of 25% from June 2023 to the date of judgment and thereupon 4% to the date of payment.

Finally they want to be paid legal and administrative fees of US$90,000 or its equivalent in Gambian dalasis and cost.

According to the statement of claim, GIA is a state-owned enterprise responsible for all ground handling activities at the Banjul International Airport.

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GCAA on the other hand is in charge of all matters of civil aviation in the country and have overall responsible of operating the Banjul International Airport, while Euro Africa Airlines Security Ltd is a security company at the Banjul International Airport.

The rest of the defendants are employees of the three organisations.

According to the statement of claim, on 24 June 2023, Mustapha Jabbie was to travel to Dubai with two suitcases stuffed with 19 kilos of gold with one Mamadou Lamine Mane, a representative of Africa Emerging Services Limited from whom they purchase the gold.

The statement indicated that Mustapha and Mane boarded the ASKY flight to Accra, en route Addis Ababa to Dubai. However, upon reaching Accra, Mane disembarked and did not rejoin the flight. On arrival in Dubai, Mustapha discovered that the 19 kilos of gold was removed from the suitcases.

Mustapha then called his brother Alhagie who reported the matter to the police at Banjul airport.

The plaintiffs averred that the police requested for the CCTV recording of the ground handling process which showed that the suitcase containing the gold was intercepted while it was on the conveyor belt after the point of scanning and screening.

They claimed that Ndey Fatou Gaye was in charge of the operation of the scanning machine at the airport called Ebrima Jobarteh to inspect the luggage after which it was put back on the conveyor belt and at that point Babanding Kanyi, Ismaila Baldeh, and Omar Jarju were seen discussing a matter.

They claimed that Kanyi removed the suitcase from the conveyor belt in the presence of Baldeh and Jarju and placed it in an area where there was no CCTV coverage. He then removed the inner suitcase containing the gold from the outer suitcase, then Bakary Sanno removed the Cellotape around the suitcase to allow Kanyi tamper with the luggage.

The claimed that after the suitcase was emptied, Kanyi took it to the flight.

Meanwhile, the hearing of the case is slated for 20 March 2024 before Justice George Appah Kwabeng at noon. Lawyer Kebba Sanyang is representing the Jabbi brothers.

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