By Mamadou Dem
Government officials who were charged and arraigned before the Banjul Magistrates’ Court during the rule of the previous Jammeh regime were finally discharged yesterday, 14 February, by Principal Magistrate Isatou Janneh-Njie.
When the case resumed yesterday, Police Prosecutor Chief- Inspector Yahya Camara disclosed to the court that the prosecution of the case was taking a new ‘twist.’ “Prosecution is applying to withdraw the case pursuant to section 68 sub 1 of the Criminal Procedure Code,” he disclosed to the court.
The accused persons were charged with two counts of ‘Neglect of official duty’ and ‘Abuse of office’ contrary to the laws of The Gambia.
“Since the accused persons were arrested on 4th July, 2016 by the NIA and subsequently arraigned before the court on the 30th of August 2016, it has come to the notice of the authorities looking at the circumstances as well as the accused persons, who are very prominent in the society and the civil service. As a result of that, they are all dismissed from their various capacities and they are not small people in their capacities. Taking cognizance of all these facts, the prosecution has no option but to withdraw the case,” said Camara.
Barrister Omar Njie, one of the attorneys for some of the accused persons, said “We have no objection to prosecution’s application to withdraw the charges against the accused persons in respect of the case before the court.”
Yassin Senghore and Combeh Gaye, who are representing some of the accused persons, did not object to the application of the prosecution.
Consequently, the trial magistrate granted the application and discharged all accused persons.
At this juncture, Lawyer Njie stood up again and applied for the court to order the surrendering of the title deeds of the accused persons as well as other documents deposited with the registrar of the court.
The application was also granted by the court for all documents to be returned to the accused persons and that the police were urged to facilitate this.
The accused persons were Abdoulie Jallow, Dr Cherno Omar Barry, Abdoulie K.M. Jallow, Lamin Camara, Lamin Sanneh, Tijan Jeng , Jerreh Sanyang, Malang Jammeh , Momodou Lamin Jammeh, Masaikou M. Marong, John Belford, Yaya Drammeh, Ebrima Sanneh, Sambou Nget, Kebba Faal, Nfamara Dampha, Lamin Mai Touray, Lamin Juwara, Saikou Sidibeh, Momodou C. Joof, Alieu Jammeh, Abdoulie M. Cham, Morro Krubally and Kantong Jallow.
Prior to the withdrawal of the case, the matter had witnessed series of adjournments and hearing never commenced.