Five Senior Agric Officials Charge with 8 Counts of Economic Crime, Etc. Entitlement of D3M Bail Bond Each

By Kebba Jeffang

Senior officials at the Ministry of Agriculture namely; Madam Ada Gaye, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Fafanding Fatajo, the Project Coordinator of Food and Agriculture Sector Development Project (FASDEP),  Mr. Omar Jammeh, the Financial Controller of  FASDEP, Dr. Abdou Ceesay, Director of Department of Livestock Services and Mr. Foday Jadama, Deputy Director of Soil and Water Management Services, were charged with eight counts ranging from economic crime,  Neglect of Official duty and abuse of office charges before Magistrate Nyima Samateh of the Banjul Magistrate’s Court yesterday, Tuesday, 14th October, 2014.

All the accused persons pleaded not guilty before the matter was transferred to the High Court.

When the case was mentioned, the police prosecutor Sub Inspector Badjie represented the state whilst Lawyer Lamin S.Camara and Lawyer Sheriff Tambedou announced their appearance for the accused persons.

In reading count one of the charge sheet to the accused persons, the Court Clerk read that the statement of offences as well as the particulars of offences are as follows;

He said on count one they were charged with Economic Crime (Specified Offences) Act Contrary to Section 5 (f) of the Criminal Code Cap: -13:07 Volume III Laws of the Gambia.

The particulars of offence on the said count stated that Ada Gaye, Fafanding Fatajo and Omar Jammeh for that you did in the month of December 2013, in the City of Banjul, Republic of the Gambia, in your capacity as Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Project Coordinator and Financial Controller of the Food and Agriculture Sector Development Project (FASDEP) respectively, you paid an amount of D700, 000.00 (Seven hundred thousand) to one Foday Jadama for the training of FASDEP beneficiaries in upland conservation which was not conducted nor was it retired by Foday Jadama.

 On the statement of offence on count two, they were charged with Economic Crime (Specified Offences) Act Contrary to Section 5 (f) of the Criminal Code Cap: -13:07 Volume III Laws of the Gambia.

Its particulars of offence stated that Ada Gaye, Fafanding Fatajo and Omar Jammeh for that you did in the month of March 2014 at FASDEP, in the City of Banjul, Republic of the Gambia you paid an amount of D527, 349.55 (Five Hundred and Twenty Seven Thousand, Three Hundred and Forty Nine Dalasis and fifty five bututs) to one Foday Jadama to train 300 FASDEP beneficiaries in Crop Husbandry over five days, instead he trained 114, which is detrimental to the Economy of the Gambia, thereby committed an offence.

 The statement of offence on count three is Economic Crime (Specified Offences) Act Contrary to Section 5 (f) of the Criminal Code Cap: 13:07 Volume III Laws of the Gambia 2009.

Particulars of offence on the said count stated that Ada Gaye, Fafanding Fatajo and Omar Jammeh for that you did in the month of March 2014, in your capacities as Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Project Coordinator and Financial Controller of the Food and Agriculture Sector Development Project (FASDEP) respectively, in the City of Banjul, Republic of the Gambia, you paid an amount of D 197, 250.00 (One hundred and Ninety seven thousand, two hundred and fifty Dalasis) to one Dr. Abdou Ceesay to train 20 extension workers in poultry production over 5 days which he instead trained 10, half of the target, an act detrimental to the Economy of the Gambia, thereby committed an offence.

The fourth charge is again Economic Crime (Specified Offences) Act Contrary to Section 5 (f) of the Criminal Code Cap: 13:07 Volume III Laws of the Gambia.

The particulars of offence on count four stated that Foday Jadama for that you did in the month of December 2013 in your capacity as the Deputy Director of Soil and Water Management Services under the Ministry of Agriculture, you received an amount of D700, 000 from FASDEP, in the City of Banjul, Republic of the Gambia, for the training of FASDEP beneficiaries in upland conservation in LRR and WCR which was not retired and there is no evidence to show that the training was conducted. And in the month of March 2014, you received an amount of D527, 349.55 from FASDEP to train 300 FASDEP beneficiaries in Crop Husbandry over five days instead you trained 114, an act detrimental to the economy of the Gambia, thereby committed an offence.

On count five, Economic Crime (Specified Offences) Act Contrary to Section 5 (f) of the Criminal Code.

The particulars of offence on count five stated “Dr Abdou Ceesay for that you did in the month of March 2014, in your capacity as the Director of the Department of Livestock Services, you received a payment of D197, 250.00 (one hundred and Ninety seven thousand, two hundred and fifty Dalasi) from FASDEP, in the City of Banjul, Republic of the Gambia, to train 20 extension workers in poultry Production over 5 days and you instead trained 10, half of the target, an act detrimental to the Economy of the Gambia, thereby committed an offence.

The statement of offence on count six is Neglect of Official duty Contrary to Section 113 of the Criminal Code Cap 10:01 Volume III, Laws of the Gambia.

The particulars of offence on count six stated that Ada Gaye, Fafanding Fatajo and Omar Jammeh for that you did in the rnonth of February 2014, in your capacities as Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Project Coordinator and Financial Controller of FASDEP respectively, you made a payment of Dl 90, 000.00 to SCENSA COMPANY LTD for the training of FASDEP staff on Exel, and also in May 2014, you made a payment of D 190, 000.00 to SCENSA for carrying out a needs assessment for community and municipal markets, knowing fully that SCENSA COMPANY LTD is not registered with the Gambia Public Procurement Authority (GPPA), thereby committed an offence.

The statement of offence on count seven is Abuse of Office Contrary to Section 90 (2) of the Criminal Code Cap 10;01 Volume III, Laws of the Gambia 2009.

The particulars of offence stated that Ada Gaye, for that you did in June 2014, in your capacity as Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, in the City of Banjul, in the Republic of the Gambia, you recommended to the African Development Bank (ADB) to appoint Omar Jammeh, the Financial Controller of the Food and Agriculture Sector Development Project (FASDEP) as the Acting Project Coordinator of FASDEP and the same time being the financial controller, which violated the financial instructions, you thereby committed an offence.

The final and the eight count is Conspiracy to Commit Felony Contrary to Section 368 of the Criminal Code Cap- lO;01, Laws -Of-the Gambia 2009.

The particulars of offence stated that Ada Gaye and Omar Jammeh for that you did in June 2014, in your capacities as Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Financial Controller of FASDEP, you jointly conspired among yourselves and recommended to the African Development Bank (ADB) for the appointment of Omar Jammeh as the Acting Project Coordinator of FASDEP; thereby committed an offence.

At this juncture, the police prosecutor Sub Inspector Badjie submitted that by virtue of the Criminal Code provisions, the matter should be transferred to the High Court since the Lower Court doesn’t have the jurisdiction to try economic crime. “We urged the court to transfer the case to the high court,” he said.

For his part, the lead defence counsel Lamin S. Camara applied for bail for the accused persons. “cognizant of the fact that the charges against our clients are economic crime. Notwithstanding, the court has the jurisdiction to grant them bail,” he said.

There was no objection from the prosecutor regarding the application for bail.

The trial magistrate, Samateh, in her ruling granted bail to each accused person in the sum of Three Million dalasi (D3M) and ordered them to each produce two Gambian sureties, one of whom must have a title deed within the jurisdiction and to submit all their traveling documents to the registrar of the court