By Mamadou Dem
Principal Magistrate Omar Cham of the lower court in Banjul yesterday, 5th May 2016, convicted and sentenced Mr. Lang Conteh, the former Kanilai Family Farm Manager, to two years imprisonment with hard labour.
Mr. Conteh was further ordered by the court to pay restoration as per the allegation pursuant to section 145 of the Criminal Code (CPC) and failure of which he will serve another year in prison with hard labour.
Reading out the judgment in a hushed court room, Magistrate Cham noted that the prosecution in a bid to prove its case tendered exhibits and called seven witnesses, including the former secretary general and head of the civil service and minister responsible for presidential affairs, Dr. Njogu L Bah, as well as Mr. Amadou Samba, businessman.
He said upon closure of the prosecution’s case, the defence filed a ‘No case to answer’ which was overruled by the court and that the convict was ordered to open his defence and during which he testified as a lone witness. He said the parties made no addresses at the closure of the case.
During the course of investigations, said the trial magistrate, the panelists discovered that there was a difference amounting to One Hundred and Sixteen Thousand Dalasis (D116, 000.00).
He said the convict in his defence refuted the prosecution’s allegation that he received an extra amount of money from one commander Sanneh of state house, but the trial magistrate added that the accused in his entire defence could not tell the court his source of income but stuck to the sixty thousand given to him by President Jammeh. “Where then did the accused got money for over spending?” asked Magistrate Cham.
The trial magistrate said the court holds that the prosecution’s allegations that Mr. Conteh received money from commander Sanneh was true and has therefore found him guilty as charged.