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City of Banjul
Saturday, September 26, 2020

State ordered to produce detained Agric officials

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Mrs Ada Gaye, the former permanent secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture, Mr Fafanding Fatajo, the project coordinator of Food and Agriculture Sector Development Project (Fasdep), Mr Omar Jammeh, the financial controller of Fasdep, Dr Abdou Ceesay, director of Department of Livestock Services and Mr Foday Jadama, deputy director of Soil and Water Management Services were supposed to appear at the high court yesterday but they were not brought to court.

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They are currently held at the National Intelligence Agency.  

When the case was mentioned yesterday, the prosecutor, Olimatou Danso, wanted the court to stand down the matter for the accused persons to be brought to court but the judge adjourned the case as there were no indictments before the court.

Instead, Justice Simon Abi asked the prosecutors to file charges against the five accused persons before they appear in January.

The five agric officials were arraigned at the Banjul Magistrates Court on October 14 on eight charges of economic crime, neglect of official duty, abuse of office and conspiracy to commit felony charges. 

The case was transferred to the high court after the magistrate, Nyima Samateh, granted them bail in the sum of D3 million each. But only Ada Gaye and Omar Jammeh were released from custody after they fulfilled the bail conditions.  However, they were re-arrested again and held at the NIA.

The officials are accused of paying D700,000 and D527,349.55 to one Foday Jadama for training of Fasdep beneficiaries in upland conservation which was neither conducted and nor was the money retired by Foday Jadama.

Prosecutors further accused them of paying D197,250 to one Dr Abdou Ceesay to train 20 extension workers in poultry production within four days, but ended up training only 10 people (half of the targeted number), an act which they say is detrimental to the economy of The Gambia.

It is also alleged that the accused persons conspired among themselves and recommended the appointment of Omar Jammeh as the acting project coordinator of Fasdep to the African Development Bank.

They all pleaded not guilty before the matter was transferred to the High Court. It is not clear whether the prosecutors maintain the same charges or bring more charges.

The accused persons were represented by lawyers Lamin Camara and Sheriff Tambadou.  

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