'In the case of the King vs All of His men I'm declaring a mistrial because of a possible bias by the jury.'The Gambia is now officially a country of sham court cases and over load of junk trials. The rule of law is the bedrock of civilised societies. However, with the nonsense court cases that ensue in the country, one wonders when people will have time for anything else.

Another case of false eating up national resources, time and manpower is that of the President of Gambia Transport, Agriculture, Food and Industrial Workers’ Union. Ousman Drammeh was yesterday arraigned at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court where he is charged with giving false information to the office of the Secretary General and Head of the Civil Service.

The case involving Fisheries official published by The Point below is even more strange and dramatic. It tours the usual line of witch hunt directed at some people, perhaps for failing to massage the Dictator’s ego. Read on:

The permanent secretary at the Ministry of Fisheries, Dr Bamba Banja, was yesterday granted court bail of D5 million by Justice Simon Abi of the Banjul High Court.

The bail ruling, which was done in chambers, stated that the accused was granted bail of D5,000,000 with two Gambia sureties in the sum of D2,500,000 each.

It further stated that each of the sureties should deposit with the principal registrar of the high court their original title deeds and valuation report on the date not earlier than the date of the order.

The principal registrar of the high court shall verify and approve the title deeds and valuation reports deposited by the sureties.

The applicant should deposit all his travel documents to the principal registrar of the high court.

Dr Banja was earlier charged and arraigned together with other fisheries officials before Magistrate Samsideen Conteh of the Banjul Magistrate’s Court on 2 February 2015.

Eleven criminal counts were preferred against the accused persons, including multiple counts of neglect of official duty, economic crime and abuse of office.

According to the particulars of offence in count one, Amadou Saine, Nfamara Dampha, Dr Bamba Banja and Nfamara Darboe (1st, 2ndand 3rdaccused persons) between January and August 2012, being permanent secretaries and directors at the Ministry of Fisheries and Water Resources and the Department of Fisheries respectively, failed to ensure that local commercial canoes were issued with fishing licence to carry out fishing activities in The Gambia as required by the Fisheries Act 2008, which resulted into financial loss to the Government of The Gambia.

Count two stated that the aforesaid persons including Nfamara Darboe (4th accused) between January and August 2012, being permanent secretaries and directors at the Ministry of Fisheries and Water Resources and the Department of Fisheries respectively, failedto ensure that local commercial canoes were issued with fishing licence to carry out fishing activities in the Gambia waters as required by the Fisheries Act 2008, which resulted into financial loss, which is detrimental to the economy of The Gambia or to the welfare of the people of The Gambia.

Count three stated that the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th accused persons, between January 2008 and August 2012, being permanent secretaries and directors at the Ministry of Fisheries and Water Resources and the Department of Fisheries respectively, failed to supervise and ensure the recovery of poaching fines within the timeframe as stipulated in the Fisheries Regulation 2008, which resulted into the loss of D21,000.00 to the economy of the state.

According to the fourth count, the four accused persons between January and August 2012 being permanent secretaries and directors at the Ministry of Fisheries and Water Resources and the Department of Fisheries respectively, failed to appropriate and in violation of the Fisheries Act and Regulation resulted into the loss of D13,913,481.38 being monies that could have been recovered by the department.

Count five alleged that the same accused persons, sometime between April and May 2014, in Banjul being permanent secretaries and directors at the Ministry of Fisheries and Water Resources and Department of Fisheries respectively, failed to pursue the case of a pouching fine amounting to D500,000 against Red Sea International Fishing Development Company Limited, an omission that is detrimental to the economy of The Gambia.

Count six alleged that the same accused persons sometime between April and May 2014 in Banjul, being permanent secretaries and directors at the Ministry of Fisheries and Water Resources and the Department of Fisheries respectively, neglected their duties by failing to pursue the case of a pouching fine amounting to half a million dalasis against Red Sea International Fishing Development Company Limited.

Count six stated that Kebba Konjira between January 2008 and August 2012, in his capacity as the accountant at the Department of Fisheries, raised payment vouchers in the name of the director for payment of salaries to staff amounting to D283,925.24 without list of staff paid.

The particulars of offence on count eight stated that Mr Konjira sometime between August 2012 and March 2014, in Banjul allegedly received several payments totalling D1,924,130.00, which he deliberately failed to bank on time as required by the Financial Instructions.

According to count nine, Mr Konjira between 2012 and 2014, in Gambia’s capital, being the accountant of the Department of Fisheries, failed to tag physical assets of the department.

The prosecution added that Mr Joseph Gabidon, Musa Jawla, Abdoulie Njie and Momodou Njie between January 2008 and August 2012, being employed at the Department of Fisheries attached at the Monitoring, Control and Surveillance Unit, as well as at the Inspectorate Unit of the department abused their office by internally printing licence application forms without serially numbering them and selling them to the public.

The last and final count on the charge sheet alleged that Mr Nfamara Dampha, sometime in 2013, in Banjul and diverse places, whilst employed as the Director at the Department of Fisheries, awarded a contract to TabaningSita Construction Company without following the Gambia Public Procurement Act (GPPA) Regulations.

Source: The Point

Ends

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