Sira Wally Ndow, 8 Others Face More Charges Edrissa Mass Jobe Discharged

By Rohey Jadama
The office of the Director of Public Prosecutions has indicted SiraSirra Wally Ndow Njie
Wally Ndow Njai and 8 other officials with 5 more charges while discharging Mr. Edrisa Mass Jobe.

The nine are charged with Economic Crimes, Conspiracy to commit felony, neglect of official duty, disobedience of statutory duty, and destroying evidence.  When the case was called before Justice O. Otaba of the Special
Criminal Division of Banjul high court, Hadi Saleh Barkun,  the
Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), A Yakubu, B. Jaiteh and A.
Adeyemi announced their representation  for the state, whilst Ida D. Drammeh, Hawa Sisay-Sabally, Rachel Y. Mendy, Yassin Senghore, B. Conteh,  B. Bouye, E. Sanneh, E. Gomez and Lamin S. Camara represented the defendants.
DPP Barkun informed the court that they have filed an amended charge in the morning. He said the amended charge has 9 accused persons instead of 10. He said the name of the 4th accused, Edrissa Mass Jobe, has been dropped on the recent charge. He said whilst they intend to prosecute the rest of the accused persons on the amended charge, they would like to withdraw all charges against Edrissa Mass Jobe, which is their humble application.
Counsel I.D Drammeh for Mr. Jobe told the court that they wish to
ask for the charges to be dismissed and that they would like the court to make a specific order for all the obligation in the bail bond to come to an end and documents be released to the 4th accused since there is no charge pending.

Justice Otaba said the application to amend and to drop charges
against the 4th accused persons is granted and the principal registrar is ordered to release his documents and all obligations in the bail bond are hereby revoked. He therefore discharged the 4th accused accordingly.

The 4th accused Edrissa Mass Jobe then walked out of the dock and left the court house.
DPP then asked for the charges to be read to the accused persons.
However counsel Drammeh said she is just been served in court and her client has not been able to receive instruction in terms of taking her plea.

She then asked for five minutes to speak to DPP which was
granted. After few minutes talk with DPP outside the court room, DPP and counsel Drammeh returned to court and DPP told the court that with consensus and Counsel Drammeh, she would like to proceed with plea taking.
At this juncture, Barrister Sisay  Sabally stood up and said “I was
served with the amended charge at 12:55 today so that is the
indictment before the court which consists of 8 counts. My lord will see that the previous charge is 3 counts and the amended charge is 8 counts. My client has not been able to go through it and I have just learned it briefly. Ultimately my client is not ready to take his plea today, so we can come back on Monday,” she submitted.

She added “May I remind the court that, my lord will also notice that the list of exhibits is attached but the exhibits are not attached  so for  my client to take his plea these documents should be provided and the court should make an order for it to be provided.”

Responding to Lawyer Sisay-Sabally, DPP said they are very much aware of the court’s order but the law did not say they should serve it with the charge. “The accused persons should be informed of the charges first so that when that is done we can now serve them with the documents. The charges have no independent meaning and this is not a new situation. An adjournment in this matter will only cause delay and if the court allows us we are ready to proceed with our witnesses. The fact that we have new charges does not constitute new circumstance that warrants adjournment,” he said.
Counsel Sisay-Sabally said her client Cherno Marena is charged before this court just because he is a board member of GNPC and they have witnessed the chairman of the board being discharged and charges dropped against him. “I don’t come to court to delay proceedings. I am here to defend my client to the best of my ability,” she said.

The rest of the defence team associated themselves with Counsel
Sisay-Sabally’s submissions.

The trial judge in his ruling said for the fact that there is an amended charge it is in the interest of justice that the defence be given time to consult with their clients.

The case was adjourned to Monday, 24th October, 2016 at 2pm.

The amended charge in count one states that Sira Wally Ndow-Njai, Momodou O.S Badjie, Fafa Sanyang, Cherno Marena, Seedy Kanyi and Muntaga Momodou Sallah sometimes in 2015 in Banjul and other diverse places while serving in your various capacities as public officers by willful act or omission cause economic loss to the Government of the Gambia to the tune of Seven Million and Sixty Nine Thousand, Eight Hundred and Eighty Cents ($7, 069, 88.70) and equivalent to three hundred and twenty nine million four hundred fifty six thousand, four hundred forty one Dalasis (D329, 456, 441.00) by causing the Government of the Gambia to make payment to March Trading which act is injurious, detrimental and damaging to the economy of the Gambia thereby committing an offence.

Count two alleges that  Sira Wally Ndow-Njai, Momodou O.S Badjie, Fafa Sanyang, Cherno Marena, Muntaga Momodou Sallah, Momodou Faal  and Louis Moses Mendy sometime in the same year and place while serving in your various capacities as public officers b by willful act or omission cause economic loss to the Government of the Gambia to the tune of three million, six hundred and ten thousand, six hundred and fifty six Dalasis ( D3, 610, 656.00) being monies expended for air tickets and per diem on due diligence mission to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (the purpose for which was not fulfilled) and signing or causing a contract to be signed with March Trading which act is injurious, detrimental, and damaging to the economy of the Gambia.
Count three states that Sira Wally Ndow-Njai, Momodou O.S Badjie, Fafa Sanyang, Cherno Marena, sometime in the same year and place while serving in your various capacities as public officers conspired amongst yourselves to commit felony to wit: by willful act or omission cause economic loss to the Government of the Gambia.

Count four state sthat Sira Wally Ndow-Njai, Momodou O.S Badjie, Fafa Sanyang, Cherno Marena in the same year and places while serving in their various capacity as public officers and whilst on due diligence mission to Dubai United Arab Emirates on the competence and capacity of March Trading to supply fuel to the Government of the Gambia, willfully neglected to execute such mission in accordance with the Gambia Public Procurement Act thereby committing an offence.
Count five states that Sira Wally Ndow-Njai, Momodou O.S Badjie, Fafa Sanyang, Cherno Marena in the same year and places while serving in their various capacity as public officers and whilst on due diligence mission to Dubai United Arab Emirates on the competence and capacity of March Trading to supply fuel to the Government of the Gambia, willfully omitted to comply with requirements of GPPA.
Count Six states that Momodou O.S Badjie in the same year and place while serving as the Managing Director of the Gambia National Petroleum Company (GNPC) willfully neglected to advertise the pre-qualification bidding process for the contract of supply of petroleum to the GNPC in accordance with the Gambia procurement act.
Count seven states that Mr.  Badjie in the same year and place while serving as the Managing Director of the Gambia National Petroleum Company (GNPC) willfully neglected to advertise the pre-qualification bidding process for the contract of supply of petroleum to the GNPC as required by the GPPA act.
Count eight states that Noah Touray in the same year and place while serving as Secretary to cabinet in the office of the president,
knowing that a file pertaining to the contract with GNPC and March Petroleum could be used in Judicial Proceedings against Sira Wally Ndow-Njai as evidence in court willfully removed and destroyed the said file.