NEDI ex-Coordinator, ex-Accountant Charged with Economic Crime

By Mamadou Dem
Pa Malick Ceesay, National Assembly Member for Lower SaloumPa Malick Ceesay
Constituency, who used to be ex- Coordinator for National Enterprise Development Initiative (NEDI), and NEDI’s ex-Accountant, Ismaila Njie, appeared before the Banjul Magistrates’ Court charged with seventeencriminal offences ranging from economic crime, abuse of office,
negligence of official duty and theft, among others.

They both denied all the charges levelled against them.
The two accused persons, who are being represented by Lawyer Lamin
Camara, were consequently kept in custody pending the ruling on their
bail application today.

The particulars of offence on count one states that Pa Malick Ceesay
between November 2010 to December 2012, by virtue of his position as
the Coordinator of the National Enterprise Development Initiative
(NEDI), in the Kanifing Municipality and diverse places, republic of
the Gambia allegedly stole an amount of D63, 750, being sales of loan
forms and loan repayments and thereby committed an offence.

Count two alleges that Pa Malick Ceesay between November 2010 to
December 2012, by virtue of his position as the Coordinator of NEDI,
caused the loss of D63,750,00 to the government of  the Gambia, being
sales of loan forms and loan repayments that could not be accounted
for and which is an act or omission detrimental to people and welfare
of the Gambia.

Count three alleges that Pa Malick Ceesay and Ismaila Njie, sometimes
between October 2009 to December 2012, by virtue of their employments
as Coordinator and Accountant of NEDI caused the loss of D116, 500 and
1,250.00 respectively to NEDI, being monies paid to them for official
spending which could not be accounted for and being an act or omission
detrimental to the people and welfare of the Gambia.

On count four, it is alleged that Pa Malick Ceesay and Ismaila Njie,
sometimes between October 2009 to December 2012, by virtue of their
employments as Coordinator and Accountant of NEDI have caused the loss
of D116, 500 and 1,250.00 respectively to NEDI, being monies paid to
them for official spending which could not be accounted.

The fifth count alleges that Pa Malick Ceesay and Ismaila Njie,
sometimes in October and November 2009, by virtue of their employment
as Coordinator and Accountant of NEDI, respectively, procured goods
totaling D2,100,000.00 from Farouk Trading without following GPPA
regulations in procurement.

Count six alleges that Pa Malick Ceesay sometimes in May 2011 and
January 2012, as NEDI Coordinator, issued out Loans amounting to D13,
000.00 and D50, 000 to Serigne M. Ceesay and Ida Jeng, respectively,
both NEDI staff without a loan scheme which contravenes Section 186 of
the financial instruction.

On count seven, it is alleged that Pa Malick Ceesay sometimes in April
2010, whilst serving as NEDI Coordinator, received and fraudulently
diverted an amount of D113, 400.00 being loan repayment to NEDI paid
to him by Besenty Gomez, former Executive Secretary of the National
Sport Council.

The eighth count alleges that Pa Malick Ceesay sometimes in April
2010, as NEDI Coordinator, caused the loss of D113, 400.00 being loan
repayment to NEDI paid to him by Besenty Gomez, former executive
secretary of the National sport council thereby committed an offence.

The particulars of offence for count nine states that Mr. Ismaila Njie
and Biggi Jallow (at large), from 2010 to 2012, being employed as
accountant at NEDI, failed to maintain a petty cash book and petty
cash voucher as required by the Financial Instruction under section
182 and 140 respectively.

Count ten alleges that Pa Malick Ceesay, from 2009 to 2012, being
employed as the Coordinator of NEDI, deliberately disbursed loans
amounting to D2, 400,000.00 to several vendors across the country
without approving their loan forms.

The twelveth count alleges that Pa Malick Ceesay sometime in  2010, as
NEDI Coordinator, disbursed loans amounting to D325,670.00 to Oses
Fishing Association and Saloum Saloum Youth Association,
respectively, without a memorandum of understanding (MOU).

The particulars of offence on count 13 alleges that Mr. Pa Malick
Ceesay, sometime in 2010, serving as NEDI Coordinator, stole one piece
of grofil sewing machine valued at D50, 000.00, one piece of drawing
machine and one piece ‘pickas’ sewing machine valued at D24, 000.00,
being the sewing machines bought for the establishment of a tailoring
shop for one Suwadou Jallow which was not accounted for.

On count 14, it is alleged that Mr. Ceesay, as NEDI Coordinator,
sometime in 2010, stole D39, 000.00 being the remaining balance of an
amount of D60, 000.00 paid to him for the annual renting of a
tailoring shop and which he instead paid six months rent of D21,
000.00 to one Alhagie Saja Bahaga of Bundung.

Count 15 states that Mr. Ceesay, sometime in 2010, as NEDI
Coordinator, is alleged to have stolen one piece of ‘grofil’ sewing
machine valued at D50, 000.00, one piece of U20 sewing machine valued
at D7,500,00 and one piece of drawing machine bought for the
establishment of tailoring workshop for one Suwadou Jallow which could
not be account for.

The sixteenth count  alleges that Mr. Ceesay, sometime in 2010,
being employed as NEDI Coordinator, stole an amount of D39, 000.00
being the remaining balance of an amount of D60, 000.00 paid to him
for the annual renting of a tailoring workshop and instead paid for
only six months of rent at D21,000.00 to one Alhagie Saja Bahaga of
Bundung.

Sub-Inspector Alpha Badjie, who appeared for the Inspector General of
Police, applied to withdraw the name of Biggi Jallow (3rd accused)
from the charge sheet in pursuance of section 68 of the Criminal
Procedure Code (CPC).

He further applied under section 62 of the same CPC and section 9 of
the Economic Crime Specified Offences Act for the transfer of the case
to the high court.
.
Prosecutor Badjie submitted that most of the charges are related to
economic crimes which are only tried by the high court and craved the
indulgence of the court to grant his prayers for the matter to be
transferred.

However, counsel for the defendants, Lamin Camara, did not raise any
objection to the application for the transfer of the matter but reminded the court about
the charges which can be tried by the lower court.

Lawyer Camara argued that the court has the power to try non economic
crime offences as well as the power to grant bail to his clients in
pursuance of section 208 (A) of the CPC and which he read out
to the court. He further appealed to the court to exercise its
discretion given by the law and grant bail to his clients subject to
the discretion of the court.

Replying to counsel’s bail application, Sub Inspector Badjie urged the
court not to grant bail to the accused persons simply because the
investigation is still ongoing and that by granting bail, the accused
persons may tamper with their witnesses.

He also told the court that the sum involved is huge and should be
considered before granting bail to the accused persons who he presumed
may abscond if granted bail.

Prosecutor Badjie urged the court to remand the accused persons in
custody pending their appearance at the high court.

Replying on points of law, lawyer Camara described the points raised
by the prosecutor as ‘baseless and mere speculation’ and prayed to the
court to grant bail to his clients whom, he said, are presumed
innocent until proven guilty by the court.

The case resumes today for ruling on the bail application.