By Rohey Jadama
Justice O. Ottaba of the Special Criminal Division of the Banjul High Court has yesterday 1 August, 2016 refused the bail application filed by defence Attorneys for Mrs. Sira Wally Ndow Njai, erstwhile Minister of Petroleum, Noah Touray, former Secretary to the Cabinet and Mr. Momodou O.S Badjie former Director of Petroleum who are charged with multiple charges of Economic crime and other offences.
Delivery his rulings (both separate but similar) Justice Ottaba said the Attorney for Mrs Sira Wally Ndow Njai submitted that bearing in mind her client’s health condition and the presumption of innocence, the court should exercise its discretion in granting bail in favour of her client.
The presiding judge said the DPP did not file an affidavit in opposition but orally submitted that the applicant (Mrs Ndow) has to place sufficient materials before the court for her bail to be considered and that the court should primarily look at the nature of the case particularly counts 5 and 6 of the charges; the amount alleged being 12 million dollars is a serious Economic crime.
He said the defence counsel submitted that it is a general rule that where a party does not file an affidavit in reply, the facts are deemed accepted.
Justice Ottaba said in granting bail the following conditions are considered as per section 99 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) and section 8 of the Economic Crime (Specified Offences) Act. The serious nature of the case, the severities of punishment when sentence is passed, the likelihood of the accused persons committing similar offences while on bail, the nature of the evidence against the accused and the probability of guilt.
“I have looked at the affidavit in support of the application and as well as the submission of both counsels. By virtue of section 99 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) this court has discretion to grant bail or refuse bail”, Justice Ottaba held.
He continued: “There are medical facilities available at the prisons where inmates are taken care of. I find and hold that the applicant did not place enough materials before the court for her application to be considered. The application lacks merit and is accordingly dismissed. I hereby order that the applicant be remanded in investigative custody”, ruled Justice Ottaba.
Justice Ottaba then made a similar ruling for Mr. Noah Touray, former Secretary to Cabinet and Mr. Momodou O.S Badjie, Former Director of Petroleum on similar grounds and ordered for the duo to be remanded in investigative custody.
It could be recalled that 7 top GNPC officials were granted bail last week by Justice Ottaba. Those granted bail are Edrisa Mass Jobe, Cherno Marena, Pa Modou Taal, Fafa Sanyang, Muntanga Momodou Sallah, Seedy Kanyi and Louie Moses Mendy.