By Mamadou Dem
The Banjul Magistrate’s Court Presided over by Magistrate Dawda Jallow yesterday, 26th November, 2014, dismissed the ‘no-case submission’ filed by Lamin Mboge, attorney for the former Secretary General, Head of Civil Service and Presidential Affairs Minister, Dr Njogu Bah, and ordered the accused to enter his defence since the prosecution has closed their case.
Dr. Bah is standing trial on a single count charge of abuse of office for interfering with the recommendation and posting of one Ms. Jainaba Jobarteh to the Gambia permanent mission at the United Nations in New York, without following proper procedures of nomination which the prosecutors believe tantamounts to abuse of office. He, however, denied any wrong doing.
Before closing their case, the prosecution had called three witnesses and tendered exhibits in order to build a prima facie case against Dr. Bah. After this, the counsel for the accused made a no-case submission on the basis that the prosecution had failed to establish the ingredients of the offence as charged and therefore his client should not enter his defence.
Lawyer Mboge further argued in his address that there was no evidence either on record or served to the defence which showed that the consent of the Attorney General was obtained before arraignment and during the prosecution up to the closure of the case by the prosecution.
In his ruling, the trial Magistrate said his perusal of the case file revealed otherwise as his predecessor had indicated that he had seen the consent of the Attorney General to prosecute the accused in respect of the charge before the court. He said the consent was admitted as exhibit RP1.
“For the avoidance of doubt, RP1 is still in the file,” he said.
Magistrate Jallow finally ruled that a prima facie case had been made by the prosecution and therefore called on the accused to enter his defence. “Any attempt to do detail analysis of the evidence at this stage would be pre-emptive and as such prejudicial to both parties,” he emphasized.
Immediately after the ruling, the defence applied for adjournment to enable them to prepare for their defence.
The case was then adjourned to 4th December 2014 for the accused to open his defence.