Legal Aid Programme Coordinator & Co Arraigned, Granted Bail

By Rohey Jadama

Mr. Kevin Aghedo, Programme Coordinator at the National Agency for Legal Aid, and Mr. Joseph Furu Gomez were on Thursday 28 April, 2016 arraigned before Principal Magistrate Omar Cham of the Banjul Magistrates’ Court and granted bail in the sum of 300,000.00 each.

When the case was called, S.K. Jobe announced his representation for the state, whilst Lawyer Pa Harry Jammeh appeared for the accused persons.

On count one, it is alleged that Kevin Aghedo and Joseph Furu Gomez sometime in 2015 at diverse places in the Gambia agreed among themselves to defraud the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) project by issuing false invoices and obtaining money from the organization and thereby committed an offence.

Count two states that Messrs. Aghedo and Gomez have in the same year fraudulently obtained money from the UNDP project which was meant to pay for the accommodation and dinner of the participants in the paralegal training in Upper River Region and converted it to their personal use.

Count three alleges that Mr. Aghedo, while serving as the Programme Coordinator at the National Agency for Legal Aid and in the discharge of his duty, acted fraudulently and breached the trust affecting the public.

It is alleged in count four that Mr. Aghedo made a false document purporting to be what in fact it is not.

However, the duo denied any culpability, prompting S. K. Jobe to apply for an adjournment to enable them call their witnesses.

At this stage, Lawyer Jammeh applied for bail for the accused persons pursuant to section 99 of the criminal procedure code and section 24 of the 1997 Constitution.

The defence counsel argued that even though there is no amount stated in the charge sheet, he is reliably informed that the alleged amount is not up to D50, 000.00. He therefore urged the court not to make the conditions of the bail so onerous.

Replying to the defence counsel’s application, S.K. Jobe, told the court that he is not objecting to the application, but urged the court to make the conditions so stiff in order to secure the attendance of the accused persons at the trial.

He further argued that the rights of the accused persons under  section 24 of the 1997 Constitution is not absolute.

In his ruling, the presiding magistrate granted bail to the accused persons in the sum of 300, 000 with two Gambian sureties, who must submit their original ID cards and a title deed to the registrar of the court.

The case was adjourned to Monday 2   May, 2016 for hearing.