Yesterday, Justice Amadi ordered for Mr Sabally to be released on bail on furnishing a personal bond in the sum of D1.5 million with one surety for the like amount to the satisfaction of the court. He also ordered that Mr Sabally surrender all his travelling documents before release.
“Every person who is charged with criminal offences should be presumed innocent until proven guilty. In this case, the applicant pleaded not guilty. There is no doubt that the charges are serious but I agree with the defence counsel that the charges are bailable,” said Justice Amadi, when granting bail.
“The factor that economic crimes carry a punishment of up to 10 years does not carry much weight in refusing the applicant bail. There is no evidence that he may interfere with potential witnesses,” said Justice Amadi dismissing the chief prosecutor’s claim that Mr Sabally may interfere with witnesses if released on bail.
The judge also ordered that the case be given accelerated hearing. He said the case should be heard every week.
His bail came after his lawyer, Antouman Gaye, sought for bail following his denial of bail on August 11 by the high court. Dressed in a dark-blue caftan, Sabally was visibly pleased and was heard saying “thank you” as he shook his lawyer’s hand.
Sabally, 40, is on trial on eight charges of two economic crimes, three counts of abuse of office, two counts of neglect of official duty and one count of giving false information. He is accused of giving false information to President Jammeh that one Alasan Ndoye had given him two vehicles with intent to annoy and cause financial loss to Mr Ndoye, information he knew was false.
He is also accused of causing economic loss to Social Security & Housing Finance Corporation in the amount of D402,500 by unduly influencing SSHFC. Prosecutors further accused Mr Sabally of causing economic loss to the government of The Gambia in the amount of D38,424 being money received as per diem allowance for a trip to South Africa in order to attend the inauguration ceremony of President Jacob Zuma, which he neglected to attend.
According to the indictment, Sabally also ‘willfully’ and ‘negligently’ delayed the departure of the vice president’s flight from South Africa for 45 minutes while part of the delegation.
Teenage girl denies manslaughter
Meanwhile, in a separate matter, a girl has denied a charge of manslaughter in connection with the death of her sister’s son after throwing a slipper at him.
Haja Jawo of Bahoum Kunda Village in the Upper River Region, appeared at the high court in Banjul where she pleaded not guilty to the charge. It was her third appearance before the same judge.
It is alleged that Ms Jawo caused the death of the child by throwing a flip-flop shoe at him. Ms Jawo who spoke only to enter her plea said the deceased was her sister’s son.
After the charge was read, Justice Amadi said he did not understand the charge. A slipper being worn by an accused person seated in the gallery was shown to him.
“So when you throw a slipper to a person, he dies? I don’t understand this charge. Who is Mamu ( the deceased)? Was he ill when the incident took place?” Justice Amadi said. He adjourned the case to November 8 adding that he wanted to speed up hearing to finish the case as early as possible.
Six witnesses are expected to testify as state witnesses.
Ms Jawo was first arraigned at the Banjul Magistrates Court two months ago but the case was transferred to the high court which has the proper jurisdiction to preside over the case.
The accused is represented by Edward Singhatey.]]>