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Saturday, May 25, 2024

Mambury Njie trial progresses

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In 2005, the Government of The Gambia and Canergie Minerals entered into a mining contract which gives the latter a licence and prospecting and exploration rights over the Sanyang, Batukunku and Kartung mineral sand deposits for ilmenite, zircon, rutile, and construction sand.

Mr Cham who was testifying in the case of Mambury Njie, former finance minister said: “They [Carnegie Minerals] were mining and selling the products outside the country and they usually pay royalties to the state.”

Mr Njie is at the centre of a high profile economic crime before the high court in Banjul. He is standing trial on two counts of economic crime and neglect of duty. He is accused of recklessly causing the Gambia Government loss, by failing to advise government on matters pertaining to mining operations of Carnegie Minerals Gambia Limited between 2001 and 2006 while he was the secretary general and head of the civil service.  He had pleaded not guilty to the charges.

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According to the state second witness, the value of mineral sands per ton is $30.8 and that ‘carnagie minerals used to pay 5% of the sales price per ton to the government.’

Under cross-examination, the witness said a report from Carnegie was sent to the geological department when the lawyer for the accused, Lamin Camara, asked how Mambury Njie determined the value that mineral sands per ton was US$30.8.

“Why were (reports) sent to geological department?” Camara further quizzed. The witness replied: “The license provides that the operator send reports on their operations to the geological department.” The case will resume tomorrow for continuation of hearing.

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It could be recalled that the high court in January delivered a judgment in favour of the state against Carnegie Minerals and its owner Andrew Charles Northfield. Both were found guilty and convicted on charges of economic crimes for having caused loss to the government of The Gambia by not giving the true and accurate value of 40 shipments of heavy mineral sand exploited in the country between 2006 and 2007.They were sentence to a fine of US$200,000,000 in default whereof the machines and other assets of the company will be forfeited to the state. 

Tahar Houari bailed

Meanwhile, in another trial, high court judge Abdulai Mikailu yesterday granted bail to Algerian national, in the sum of one million dalasi. The court further required Tahar Haouari to provide two Gambian sureties and all travelling documents in order to have a temporary release from state custody. 

His released on bail came yesterday, following his lawyer’s submission for him to be released on bail. “The court has the powers to grant the applicant bail because the offence is not punishable by death or life imprisonment,” Tahar’s lawyer, Kebba Sanyang told the court. “The applicant has stated that he will make himself available throughout the trial and will not interfere with the witnesses.”

Without any opposition from the state, the judge granted the accused bail in the earlier mention sum.

Tahar was arraigned on June 11 at the high court in Banjul on three counts of economic crime, conspiracy to commit felony and stealing. State prosecutors accused Tahar with two others (now at large) of causing economic loss to Gamtel in the tune of D611, 340.03 by installing a giant simbox which he (accused) used to divert international calls from Gamtel international gateway, an act which is detriment to the economy of the Gambia.

He is also accused of obtaining D115, 677 from QCell Company by installing a sim box. However, he ‘pleaded not guilty’.  The case will resume June 25 for hearing


By Binta Bah


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