By Yankuba Jallow
The State has yet again failed to bring Baboucar Badjie, a former finance officer of the associated Pre-Mix Oil Company, to court. Mr. Badjie’s case has been dragging in court for quite some time now.The trial Magistrate of the case, Hilary Abeke of the Kanifing Magistrates Court, sometime ago, ruled that the court will write to the Director of Public Prosecutions to assign a new prosecutor to handle the matter, but up to now, no prosecutor has appeared in court. Prior to his ruling, the court failed to proceed on two adjourned dates. The first instance was when the Magistrate, told the court on Monday, March 3, 2017, that his clerk was yet to be familiar with the process of producing him the files set for ruling or judgment, and on Wednesday 5 April, he (Magistrate Abeke) failed to appear. This ruling was done in the absence of the accused person (Baboucar Badjie).
Mr. Badjie’s bail was seized by the court, and he is held in custody at Jeshwang Prisons. On several occasions, family members have been coming to court with the anticipation of seeing their loved one, but their dreams of seeing him, has always been shattered.
Magistrate Abeke has on several occasions said that speedy trial and rule of law will never be compromised in his court. Mr. Badjie is standing trial on one count of stealing D33M from his former employer, an allegation he denied at the onset of the trial. He has already spent a year and some months in remand due to the stiff bail condition that he cannot fulfill.
Since the case was brought to court, the State has failed to appear and the Defense counsel Edward A. Gomez has argued that this was a clear indication that the state has no interest in the matter.
Court documents stated that Mr. Badjie, between January and December 2015, at the Associated Pre-mix Oil Company Ltd on Kairaba Avenue, in the Kanifing Municipality, by virtue of his position as finance officer of the said company, stole D33 million, being monies of the said company diverted for his personal gain.
The former Prosecutor of the trial, Fadera, disassociated himself from the case when he told the court that he was threatened by some people from abroad.
The family members of Mr. Badjie are in a state of uncertainty as to his condition, since he has not been produced in court in almost all the sittings called, and are calling on the authorities to say something on the matter.