Man pleads guilty to obtaining D461K by false pretense

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By Aisha Tamba

One Sheikh Tijan Hydara, (not the GANU leader) yesterday pleaded guilty to fraudulently obtaining the sum of D461,500.00 from one Fabakary Sanneh and four others on the pretense of giving them Spanish visa.

Hydara made this guilty plea before Magistrate Don Njie of the Kanifing Court. The complainants are Fabakary Sanneh, Malang Sanneh, Mamadou Ousman Bah and Samba Sarr.

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Presenting the facts, police prosecutor ASP Famara A Sanyang told the court that sometime in 2020, the accused Hydara met Malang Sanneh and told him that he has a travelling package to Spain. “Malang Sanneh was intrigued by the news and told three of his friends Fabakary Sanneh, Mamadou Ousman Bah and Samba Sarr all of whom had a personal meeting with the accused where he gave them more details about his supposed package,” the police man told the court.

He added that Mamadou Ousman Bah agreed with the accused person an amount of D100, 000, Malang Sanneh D100, 000, Samba Sarr D175,000 while Fabakary Sanneh D86, 500. “All these monies were paid to the accused person under the pretense that he will give them a Spanish visa in a month’s time. But many months came by and there was no visa with the accused person coming up with excuses each time they asked him,” the police prosecutor said.

In his plea of mitigation, Sheikh Tijan’s Lawyer Ebrima Jah pleaded on his behalf begging the court to temper justice with mercy as his client did not waste the court’s time. 

He told the court that the accused has a child and a sick mother at home and that circumstances caused him to engage in such activities.

Asked if the accused has previous crime records, ASP Sanyang tendered the previous conviction of the accused person and applied for the complainant to be compensated as per section 145. 

But lawyer Jah argued that both the accused and the complainant engaged in illegal activities due to reasons that were not the right channel to gain a legal visa, therefore his client owes no compensation to the complainants. “This transaction was an illegal transaction and the courts of law cannot directly or indirectly enforce an illegal contract,” he said. He further argued that the prosecution application is indirectly asking the court to compensate the complainants for an illegal transaction that they entered into with the accused person.

However, the prosecution argued that where there is a material loss or cause of injury there should be compensation as per section 145. “The illegality raised by the defense counsel is unfounded. The fact of the matter is the crime that has been committed and the victims deserve to be protected by the court.”   

The matter was adjourned till today for ruling and conviction.