Judge’s illness delays former WAAPP Coordinator’s trial

By Rohey Jadama

The case involving Mr. Sheikh Tijan Sosseh, the former Coordinator of

the West African Agricultural Productivity Project (WAAPP), before the

Special Criminal Division of the High Court in Banjul, could not proceed

Yesterday, Wednesday, January 28, 2015 due to the illness of the trial

Judge, Justice Emmanuel Amadi.

A court official told reporters that the judge was not feeling well

and was given Excuse on Duty (ED).

The trial of Mr. Sosseh started in July 2013 and has now dragged on

for 1 year, 6 months. The prosecution had called a total of 6

witnesses to prove their case. It has suffered numerous delays or

setbacks, thus leading both the trial judge and the defence team to

conclude that the prosecution is dragging the case with the judge even

threatening to close the prosecution’s case if their seventh and last

witness failed to appear in court after many non-appearances

before.

As a consequence, the prosecution failed to appear and bring their

last witness which prompted the court to close their case and to ask

the defence to start theirs.

The defence team opted to file a “no case to answer” submission.

The case was adjourned to Monday, 2nd of February, 2015 for defence to proceed.

Meanwhile, Mr. Sosseh is alleged on Count One that while he was

employed as the Project Coordinator of the GEAPP he has failed and or

omitted to fully apply a Euro 5.3 million grant from the World Bank

and leaving unspent $76,489.20, which omission was detrimental to the

economy of The Gambia and the welfare of the Gambian people.

Count two states that while employed in the public service of The

Gambia as GEAPP Coordinator, Mr. Sosseh neglected to effectively

supervise the construction and rehabilitation of the Seed

Multiplication Centre at Chamen in the Gambia.

As for Count Three, Mr. Sosseh is accused that while he was employed

as the GEAPP Coordinator, he recklessly paid D15,895,125.25 to the

general procurement service inspite of the shoddy construction and

the rehabilitation works at Chamen Seed Multiplication Centre and

thereby caused an economic loss to The Gambia through the Ministry of

Agriculture and the GEAPP.