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City of Banjul
Sunday, October 25, 2020

Nine fisheries officials face high court trial

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Justice Simon Abi fixed the hearing yesterday after prosecutor Agie Adam Ceesay said her office did not have the case file of the accused persons. “We are seeing this for the first time, my lord,” she said. 

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All the nine men were not present in court even though they are all on bail. Their lawyers were not also in court.

The accused are the former permanent secretary, Famara Darboe; former Director, Nfarama Dampha; Amadou Saine; Dr. Demba Banja; Kebba Konjira; Joseph Gabidon; Musa Jawla; Abdoulie Njie and Momodou Njie.

They were arraigned at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court on February 2 on eight charges of economic crime, neglect of official duty, abuse of office.  

The case was transferred to the high court after the magistrate granted bail to Kebba Konjira, Joseph Gabidon, Musa Jawla, Abdoulie Njie and Modou. He however ordered that Amadou Saine, Nfamara Dampha, Nfamara Darboe and Dr. Bamba Danja that be kept in prison custody pending their appearance at the high court, where they should seek bail.

After a week, the four men were also released by a high court judge after their lawyers obtained a high court bail. 

The officials were accused of failing to appropriate D13, 913,481.38 being monies that could have been recovered by the department.

Prosecutors further accused them of neglecting their duties by failing to pursue the case of a poaching fine amounting to half a million dalasis against Red Sea International Fishing Development Company Limited.

It was also alleged that the accused persons received several payments totalling D1,924,130.00 which they deliberately failed to bank on time as required by the Financial Instructions.

All the accused persons were unable to react to the charges as the lower court lacks the jurisdiction to try economic crime cases. It is not clear whether the prosecutors will  amend the charges.

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