By Kebba Jeffang
The lower court in Banjul in exercising its discretion in accordance with the law freed the 28 dismissed civil servants on bail upon fulfilling the condition of depositing two hundred and fifty thousand dalasi (D250,000) each to the registrar of the court.
The Banjul Magistrates’ Court’s principal magistrate, Mr Omar Cham declared this in a bail ruling proceedings on Monday, July 18, 2016 in a packed-full court room.
Announcing representations for both parties, Inspector Sarja Sanyang appeared for the Inspector General of Police (IGP) whilst teams of lawyers including barrister Suharata Janneh, Hawa Sisay Sabally, Lamin S. Camara, Omar Njie, Musa Bachilly, Combeh Gaye Coker represented various accused persons.
The names that were confirmed as absent in court include Aussainou Jobarteh, Abdoulie Jallow and Famara Darboe.
Delivering his ruling, Magistrate Cham recalled that there was a bail application from lawyer Lamin S. Camara during the last proceedings that covers all the 28 accused persons, when he pointed out that the law gives the court power to exercise its discretion in giving bail.
However, he added that the prosecuting side opposed this application submitting that their investigation on the accused persons are still ongoing and they may tamper with it. He noted that the prosecution also urges the court to deny the accused persons bail.
Meanwhile, he said the law provides the court power to grant bail or deny the accused persons but judiciously. “Having looked at the charge, this court has the discretion to entitle them bail. Accordingly, I exercise my discretion to grant them bail on the following conditions:” he said.
He ruled that each of the accused persons must deposit the sum of two hundred and fifty thousand dalasi (D250.000); each must have two Gambian sureties both of who may have title deed valued at D250, 000 and must submit their identity cards; none of the accused person must travel outside the jurisdiction of the court.
The matter at this juncture was adjourned to 1st August, 2016 at 10:30am for the commencement of the trial.
After the end of proceedings, relatives, loved ones and friends could be seen mingling with their loved ones while others had already started working out the bail condition to enable the accused persons to reunite with their families after about 2 weeks of detention.
Twenty-eight senior civil servants of the Gambia government including Permanent Secretaries, Deputy Permanent Secretaries, Directors, Principal Assistant Secretaries, Chief Drivers and Drivers had earlier pleaded not guilty to charges of ‘Neglect of Official duties’ and ‘Abuse of office’.
They include Mr. Abdoulie Jallow, Mr. Kaiding Sambou, Mr. Bernard Mendy, Mr. Cherno Njie, Mr. Yira Jammeh, Mr. Abdoulie T.B Jarra, Miss Aminata Semega Janneh, Mr. Aussainou Jobarteh, Mr. Abdoulie Jallow, Mr. Fafa Sanyang, Mr. Cherno Omar Barry, Mr. Abdoulie K.M Jallow,Mr. Abdoulie Jallow, Mr. Lamin Camara,Mr. Lamin Sanneh, Mr. Tijan Jeng, Mrs. Fatoumatta Bah, Mr. Momodou Saidyleigh, Mrs Aja Fatou Gaye, Mr. Habib T.B Jarra, Mr. Jerreh Sanyang, Mr. Malang Jammeh,Mr. Momodou Lamin Jammeh, Mr. Lamin Sisay, Mrs Naffie Barry, Mr. Famara Darboe, Mrs Roheyatou Kah and Mr. Sanna Gassama.