“I have not seen any evidence of law and none has been shown to me that bring the activities of Carnegie Minerals within the public services that impose a duty on the accused in his capacity as secretary general to advise government on the activities of the company,” high court judge Abdullahi Mikailu said before discharging and acquiting the former minister.
“For the offence to be complete, it is important that the act of the accused must result in monetary loss to the government of the Gambia. The evidence of monetary loss caused to the government is lacking in this case,” he stated.
Mr Njie was arraigned at the high court in Banjul accused of committing economic crimes and neglect of duty. He was accused of recklessly causing The Gambia government economic losses by failing to advise government on matters pertaining to the mining operations of Carnegie Minerals Gambia Limited between 2001 and 2006 while he was the secretary general and head of the civil service.
His freedom came after his lawyer, Lamin Camara, made a ‘no-case-to-answer’ submission last week that none of the witnesses had produced incriminating evidence to link his client to the allegations of economic crime he was charged with.
After the court announced he was a free man, an emotional and teary Mambury Njie went around to shake the hands of his sympathisers and well-wishers who cheered and congratulated him on his victory at the courts.
According to the judge, the state prosecutor failed to establish the ingredients of the charges against the accused. “The evidence adduced before this court find neither direct nor circumstantial evidence showing that the then secretary general had neglected to perform any of the duties imposed on him. In these circumstances, the court is left in doubt as regards this important gist. This court cannot embark on a speculative voyage to fish for or create evidence to make good of the deficiency in the prosecution’s case nor should the court indulge in guess work in order to fill the gap left on the prosecution’s case,” the judge noted.
He added, “An accused person should not be made to enter into a witness box where he will be compelled to make damaging admissions under-cross examinations.”
Mr Njie who was the secretary general in 2005 when The Gambia and Canergie Minerals entered into a mining contract, had always maintained his innocence throughout the trial.
Two people – an anti-fraud officer and the former director of geological department – appeared as state witnesses.]]>