Court orders Ousman Badjie to enter his Defence

By Rohey Jadama
Banjul High Court on Thursday 30 April dismissed the ‘no-case toOusman Badjie
answer submission’ of  Lamin S. Camara , attorney for the erstwhile Works, Transport and Construction minister Mr. Ousman Badjie. The court, presided by Justice Simeon A. Abi, ordered Mr Badjie also the former Head of Mission at the Gambian embassy in France to enter his defence.Mr. Badjie is standing trial on two counts of economic crimes and three
counts of neglect of official duties. He is being accused of failing
to pursue the case of an alleged theft of twenty-seven thousand Euros
with the French Government while serving as Gambia’s ambassador in
that country.
Before closing their case, the prosecution had called three witnesses
and tendered Exhibits A to D1 in order to build a prima facie case
against Mr. Badjie. After this, the counsel for the accused made a
no-case submission on the basis that the prosecution had woefully
failed to show it is the responsibility of the accused to ensure that
none of this happened when it isn’t his responsibility. He added that
calling the accused to enter his defence mandatorily as urged by the
state is inconsistent with the right to remain silent, presumption of
innocence and amounts to calling on the accused to prove his
Lawyer Camara further argued that the financial attaché was answerable
to the head of chancery who was responsible for the finances and that
in the case of France there was no head of chancery and that it was
the deputy head of mission.
He said the report prepared by PW3, Malick Sillah bears no name and
therefore there is no evidence of authorship by anybody. He said
Exhibits D1 and D2 don’t bear the period of concern from the financial
activity in France. He said Exhibit C has no indication as evidence
that it is a public document by the Gambia Mission in France since
there is not even an address on it. He submitted that there is nothing
incriminating in Exhibits C, D and D1.
In his ruling, the trial judge said it is not necessary for the judge
to determine if the evidence is sufficient to justify a conviction.
He said the trial court has to examine the evidence as to whether
there is a prima facie case requiring at least some explanation from
the accused person.
“Having carefully read the evidence on record, and after listening to
and considering the arguments proffered by both the prosecution and
the defence in support of and against the submission of no case to
answer, I am of the view that at this stage the prosecution has made out a
prima facie case requiring the accused to offer an explanation”, said
the trial judge.
He accordingly dismissed the submission of ‘no case to answer’ and
called upon the accused to enter his defence in the case. The case
was adjourned to 27 May 2015 at 1pm for the accused to enter his