By Rohey Jadama
Hadi Saleh Barkum, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), has intimated to the Banjul high court presided over by Justice Simeon Ateh Abi that only three people will be charged in the new bill of indictment of the fisheries officials facing trial.
However, he did not disclose the names of the three concern former officials but added that investigations are ongoing.
The nine fisheries officials, who were earlier indicted with eleven counts including neglect of official duty, economic Crime and abuse of office, among others, are Amadou Saine, former permanent secretary, Nfamara Dampha, former Director of Fisheries, Famara Darboe, former acting director of Fisheries, Dr. Bamba Banja, former Permanent Secretary, Kebba Konjira, Joseph Gabidon, Musa Jawla, Abdoulie Njie and Momodou Njie.
The DPP was informing the court that all the accused persons are granted bail but that none of them was in court. Famara Darboe was seen entering and heading to the dock.
At this juncture, the presiding judge told the DPP that the new bill of indictment was not before him.
The chief prosecutor then applied for an adjournment to enable him to withdraw the old bill of indictment before the court, which was granted by the presiding judge.
When asked by the court as to how he intends to contact the other accused persons who were not in court, the DPP responded that they should have been in court since they were granted bail.
Famara Darboe, who was present, was asked by the court whether he can reach the other accused persons and he responded in the positive. The court therefore instructed him to tell his co-accused persons about the next adjourned date so that they can all be in court.
The trial judge adjourned the case to 11th June at 10am.
The nine fisheries officials were first arraigned at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court on the 2nd of February 2015.
The then trial magistrate ordered the matter to be transferred to the Special Criminal Division of the High Court as it is the proper court mandated by law to try such offences.
Prior to transferring the matter to the high court, the magistrate granted some of the accused persons bail, namely Kebba Konjira, Joseph Gabidon, Musa Jawla, Abdoulie Njie and Modou Njie, who are the 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th accused persons, respectively.
He, however, ordered Amadou Saine, Nfamara Dampha, Nfamara Darboe and Dr. Bamba Banja, the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th accused respectively to seek for bail at the high court. He also ordered for them to be kept in prison custody pending their appearance at the high court. The four were later granted bail.