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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Sedia Bayo stands trial following arrest

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By Fatou Sowe

Sheikh Sedia Bayo, a renowned social media political activist and leader of the self-style interim government in exile during former President Jammeh’s regime, has been dragged before the High Court in Banjul presided over by Justice Buba Jawo to answer a judgment debtor’s summons filed against him by Coco Ocean Resort and Spa.

Bayo, who was arrested a night before at the airport while leaving the country, appeared before the said court on Friday and was examined in respect of his ability to satisfy the judgment sum of D1, 709, 522.45 entered against him on the 31 July 2017 in a civil suit instituted by Coco Ocean against him (Bayo) and one Philippe Andre Raymond Piere Etienne.

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When the matter was called lawyer Anna Njie who represented Coco Ocean applied for Bayo to be put in the witness box in order for him to be examined, which was granted by the court and Bayo was sworn to give evidence in Mandinka.

According to Bayo, he does not even know why his name was included in the suit, but he was promptly interjected by the presiding judge who said that he cannot start to make statements in denial of an uncontested judgment. After which Lawyer Njie started to examine him, during which Bayo told the court that he is not permanently resident in the country as he constantly goes and come.

He said that he has a car rental company in Paris called Safa VTC and the company is doing very well, adding that he has a current bank account in Bank Societe Generale of France.
He disclosed that he has no property in the Gambia but he recently reactivated his account at Access Bank and there is D2, 500 and that he has been working to establish a company in The Gambia.

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He revealed that he has been working with the current government by bringing investors into the country and he has nine investors recently for which he will get 6% commission. He added that he is not a politician but he was active in finding a solution to Jammeh’s autocratic rule.

Bayo further informed the court that he has never lived in Senegal but he used to visit frequently, saying that while in Senegal the Senegalese government gives him two bodyguards and he hired additional three whom he pays 15, 000 CFA per day. He said for the Gambia he was advised by the authorities to go around town with bodyguards.

He also told the court that he finances all his trips to the various countries he visited and that while in The Gambia he usually stays at Yarambamba Estate at his mother’s property and in Senegal, he lodges at Radisson Blue, Teru Bi and King Fahd palace. However, he admitted that he had lodged at Coco Ocean resort and spa.

Bayo said that he has a wife and two kids who are in France and that he is committed to solving this issue because he is a nobleman. Bayo said he didn’t have his bank details in court but said he has an income 64, 000 euros by 2016.

Lawyer Njie applied for an adjournment in order for Bayo to bring in the proof of his financial status. Bearing in mind that Bayo is already under a warrant of arrest and that he is not a permanent resident in country, she applied that Bayo provides security worth the judgment sum which will be in the interest of the judgment creditor.

Bayo reacted that the court should do what it has to do. The presiding judge in his ruling ordered Bayo to provide all proof of his earnings, that he shall enter into recognition with two Gambian sureties who shall have landed properties within the Greater Banjul Area valued not less than the judgment sum. The court also ordered Bayo to surrender all his travel documents.
Hearing continues today at 2:30pm

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