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City of Banjul
Friday, September 18, 2020

Soldier sentenced for dealing in firearms

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Alieu Loum, Jerreh Manneh and Karanta Darboe were slammed with eleven counts including having firearms without authority, keeping firearms in other places than a public or private warehouse without lawful authority, transfer of firearms without authority, dealing in firearms and conspiracy to commit felony.

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State prosecutors alleged that the three men were found with firearms (a semi-automatic pistol) and four live round ammunitions. They further accused them of transferring and dealing in firearms without permit granted to them by a prescribed authority. 

On the allegation of dealing with firearms, Mr Loum and Mr Darboe are accused of selling firearms to Mr Manneh (the second accused) at the cost of D10,000 while Mr Manneh was accused of buying the said firearm from the two men. Mr Manneh pleaded guilty to all the charges. Mr Loum pleaded guilty to all the other charges but denied the charges of keeping firearm and conspiracy. Mr Darboe on the other hand denied all the charges.

Though the offence could attract a fine of D100,000 or 20 years in imprisonment, Magistrate Lamin Mbaye sentenced Mr Loum and Mr Manneh to a fine of D50,000 each and in default of payment, to serve a year in prison with hard labour. Mr Manneh broke into tears after he was sentenced.

They were convicted after they pleaded with the magistrate to forgive them. Mr Loum told the court: “I did not sell the pistol to harm anyone. [Presently] my wife is pregnant and I have been under NIA custody for six weeks. Twenty years imprisonment means I will not see my family. I beg the court to forgive me.”.

The second convict, Jerreh Manneh, in his mitigation urged the court to temper justice with mercy. “I’m the first child of my mother. I’m newly married and I have not seen my wife for weeks. I did not buy the gun to harm anyone. Let the court not sentence me to 20 years. I was at the NIA for six weeks and I was beaten by the NDEA [sic]. Even with that I accept all the charges at the NIA,” he said

In passing his sentence, the magistrate said: “The offences listed on the eleven counts are very serious. They cannot go unpunished. Going around town with a loaded gun is a threat to the general public. It is also a threat to the security of the state. The state of law in relation to the offence is that you be fined D100,000 in default 20 years imprisonment but I will use my discretion for the fact that the convicts did not waste the time of the court. I therefore sentence them to a fine of D50,000 or in default they will serve one year imprisonment with hard labour.” 

Meanwhile, Mr Darboe has been released on bail in the sum of D150,000 or the provision of two Gambian sureties with valid identity cards. Mr Loum will also be released on bail on the same condition if he fulfils the terms of his sentence. The case will resume October 8 for hearing.

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