By Rohey Jadama
The prosecution, yesterday 27 July, 2016 opposed the bail application of Mrs. Sira Wally Ndow Njai, erstwhile Minister of Petroleum, Noah Touray, former Secretary to Cabinet and Mr. Momodou O.S Badjie.
The three who are part of ten accused persons on trial before Justice O. Ottaba of the Special Criminal Division of the Banjul High Court were not taken to court on 26 July 2016 when bail was granted to the seven other accused persons in this trial.
The seven others who were granted bail in the sum of 1.6 million dollars in some instances are Edrisa Mass Jobe, Cherno Marena, Pa Modou Taal, Fafa Sanyang, Muntanga Momodou Sallah, Seedy Kanyi and Louie Moses Mendy.
When the case was called Hadi Saleh Barkun, the Director of Public
Prosecutions (DPP) told the court that the bail application of the
applicants was moved last week and that they are yet to reply to it.
DPP further told the court that they are objecting to the application
for bail, but that they did not file a counter affidavit. He said the
applicant has to place sufficient materials before the court for her
bail to be considered.
DPP Barkun argued that Mrs Sira Wally Ndow-Njai is charged with Economic Crime and that her name is featured in all the transactions of all the counts. “She holds a very high position in the government. She was the minister of both petroleum and energy”, submitted the DPP.
However, Lawyer Ida Drammeh, defence counsel for Mrs. Ndow-Njai,
objected and argued that the DPP should limit himself to the law.
Continuing his submission the DPP said they are not disputing the fact that the offences the applicant is charged with is bailable but that
the mere fact that the charge is bailable is not a ground to grant
bail. He cited authorities to support his application.
He continued “The court should primarily look at the nature of the
case particularly counts 5 and 6 of the charges, the amount alleged is
$12million, there is a serious Economic crime. With or without a
counter affidavit the discretionary powers of the court to grant or
refuse bail, the circumstances of the case is what the court needs to
take into account”.
Replying to the submission of the DPP, Lawyer Ida Drammeh said
discretion is defined in law to be exercise in judicious and judicial
manner. “A court with all due respect can only act on facts before
it and including these uncontroverted facts. The court must exercise
its discretion in accordance with common sense and justice”, said
Barrister Drammeh submitted that sections 19 and 24 of the 1997
constitution guarantees her client and any other person charged the
right to liberty. She argued that the authorities cited by the DPP are
not in line with the 1997 constitution.
She further submitted that the applicant has a serious health problem.
Lawyer Drammeh applied for the court to order for Mrs.Ndow-Njai to be admitted at a hospital for urgent medical attention so that her
condition can be stable. She told the court that her client is at the
moment with the NIA.
However, there was no objection from the DPP and Justice Ottaba made an order directed to the Director General of the National Intelligence Agency(NIA) for Mrs.Ndow_Njai to get medical attention.
Lawyer Ida Drammeh counsel for Mr. Noah Touray, and DPP
adopted the submissions earlier made in Mrs. Sira Wally Ndow-Njai’s
bail application for Mr. Touray’s bail application.
Barrister Lamin S. Camara, defence counsel for Momodou O.S Badjie told the court that the application of his client is a way of originating
summons seeking for the release of the applicant on bail pending the
filing of charges against him if any and final determination of the
Lawyer Camara further told the court that the application has 25
paragraphs and that they are relying on all the paragraphs contained
in the affidavit in support of the application particularly paragraph
He said it is obvious that the investigation of the case is completed and that the applicant does not pose flight risk because his travelling documents are already at the NIA.
“My Lord should and ought to exercise his discretion in favour of the
applicant. Having regard that there is no affidavit in opposition
therefore, the averments contained in the affidavit in support are
deemed admitted. Secondly, this applicant is charged with a bailable
offence and bail is purely at the discretion of the court and I
respectfully enjoin this court to exercise this discretion in favour of
the applicant”, said Lawyer Camara.
He submitted that his client was remanded since the 22 of June, 2016
without a proper indictment before the court. “I urge the court not to
free him or acquit him but, to grant him a pre-trial liberty”, said
However, the DPP adopted the submissions he earlier made in Sira Wally Ndow-Njai’s bail application.
Justice Ottaba adjourned the bail applications of the trio till Monday
1 August, 2016 at 11am for ruling.