Lamin Fatajo & Co Plead Not Guilty

By Rohey Jadama
Lamin Fatajo, former Project Coordinator of theLamin Fatajo former Rural Finance Project, Muhammed Lamin Mass, acting Finance and
Administrative Manager of the same project, and Madam Ada Gaye,
Permanent Secretary  of the ministry of Agriculture , yesterday,
26 March, 2015 pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against
them before Simeon A. Abi of the Banjul High Court.Hadi Saleh Barkum, the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) and A.
Adeyemi represented the state, while Borry S. Touray announced his
appearance for the 1st and 2nd accused persons and Sheriff M. Tambedou
represented the 3rd accused person.
After taking their plea, the DPP applied for the case to be adjourned
for hearing and for the accused persons to be remanded.
Lawyer Tambedou told the court that the 3rd accused person was granted
bail at the lower court on the 14th October, 2014 and which is a
sister case to this. “I wish to apply for your lordship to allow the
3rd accused to remain in her previous bail pending further bail
application,” said Tambedou.
DPP Barkum argued that the two cases are different and that the matter
was taken from the Banjul Magistrates’ Court and transferred to the
high court.
In his ruling, the trial judge said all the records before him
indicate that all the accused persons were granted bail at the lower
court. “I will allow them to continue with that bail pending the
application of their bail,” ruled the trial judge.
The case was adjourned to 31st of March at 2 pm for mention.
Count one alleges that Lamin Fatajo and Lamin Mass while being
employed as Program Coordinator of Rural Finance Project and acting
Finance/Administrative Manager of the Rural Finance Project
respectively abused their offices by authorizing and approving the
payment of D117,521 as salary advances for project staff in
contravention of the projects finance and administration procedure
manual.
In count two, Mr. Fatajo, and Mr. Mass are alleged to have neglected their
duties by failing to stop the payment of D18, 000 as
sitting allowances to some committee members who failed to attend meetings.
Count three states that the first and second accused persons approved
the payment of D18, 000 as sitting allowances to some committee
members set up to review the union finance promotion center and were
not entitled to the same and which act is said to be detrimental to the
economy or people of the Gambia.
The fourth count alleges that Mr. Fatajo, Mr. Mass and Madame Gaye
being employed as Program Coordinator of Rural Finance
Project, acting Finance administrative Manager of the Rural Finance
Project and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture,
respectively, have neglected their official duties by authorizing the
payment of $14, 000 to Sonko Fofana without first seeking and
obtaining approval from IFAD.