By Lamin Sanyang
Former Secretary General and Minister for Presidential Affairs, Momodou Sabally yesterday, Tuesday 14 October, appeared at the High court for the second time after three months since his arrest by the officials of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA).
The erstwhile Secretary General first appeared at the high court on 11 August, charged with one count of economic crime and two counts of abuse of office charges, all relating to a Youth Career Development Programme organized by one Mariama Sillah in May 2014. He is accused of causing economic loss to SSHFC in the amount of D402, 500 by unduly influencing the corporation to fund the programme without recourse to due process. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Mr. Sabally has been under the custody of the National Intelligence Agency after a high court judge, Abdullahi Mikhailu, refused him bail following the prosecution’s claim that investigations into his matter were ongoing.
However, the case could not proceed yesterday after the court was informed of a letter sent to the Chief Justice that prosecutors would not make it to the court because of the preparations for the inauguration of the newly refurbished AG Chambers, as part of the July 22 Anniversary. It is said that the inauguration ceremony is scheduled for today.
The former Secretary General was escorted by three undercover agents, wearing a blue kaftan and holding a bottle of avian water while counting on beads as he entered the crowded courtroom. He was seen waving at his family, who were crying in the court. He was seen talking to the undercover agents sitting behind him while waiting for the judge. There were a good number of people who came to greet him.
Mr. Sabally was seen talking to his lawyer (Antouman Gaye) as two court officials handed out court documents to the undercover agents who later escorted him to the office of the Sheriff Division of the High Court. He spent few minutes at the said office and left the premises with the same undercover agents who escorted him to the court. It was said that he was transferred from the custody of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) to the remand wing of the central prison.
Meanwhile, the court premises was crowded with onlookers, people came out from offices and the courtyard to see the former secretary general and minister for presidential affairs who was whisked away in a security vehicle.
The family members cried openly including his wife who was being consoled by an elderly woman. The atmosphere was emotional.