By Rohey Jadama
Mr. Nfamara Jerroh Dampha and Mr. Famara Darboe former directors of the Department of Fisheries were yesterday, 28 April,arraigned before Principal Magistrate Omar Cham of the Banjul Magistrates’ Court and charged with economic crime, negligence of official duties and theft.
When the case was called, Sub Inspector Njie told the court that
he had perused through section 9 of the Economic Crimes Specified
Offences Act which states that only the Special Criminal Division
of the high court has the jurisdiction to hear economic crime cases.
This, however, prompted Lawyer Modou Drammeh to apply for bail for the accused persons. He cited section 99 of the criminal procedure code (CPC), section 208 (A) of the Economic Crimes Specified Offences Act and the 1997 Constitution of the Gambia to support his application.
Counsel Drammeh told the court that the first accused, Mr. Dampha, is
granted bail in the sum of 5million on a similar case at the high court and which he has fulfilled.
The trial magistrate said the bail applications of the accused persons is denied pursuant to section 9 of the Economic Crimes Specified Offences Act which states that anybody charged with an economic crime should be tried by a high court judge.
Count one states that Nfamara Dampha and Famara Darboe, between the month of January 2013 to May 2015, in Banjul, and in their capacities as Director of Fisheries, have allowed the monitoring, control and surveillance unit under their department to calculate 5% of the total catch instead of 10% thus causing loses to the government of the Gambia amounting to D10, 874,719.75.
Count two alleges that Messrs. Dampha and Darboe in the same period and place and in their capacities as director of fisheries have failed to supervise the monitoring, control and surveillance unit by allowing for the calculation of 5% landing fee instead of 10% for various vessels
amounting to D10, 874,719.75.
It is alleged in count three that the duo, in the same period and place as above, and in their capacities as director of fisheries stole an amount of D10, 874,719.75.
However, the two did not take their plea because the lower court lacks
the jurisdiction to hear the case and they were remanded while the case was thus transferred to the high court.