By Rohey Jadama
Pa Malick Ceesay, the erstwhile National Assembly Member for Lower Saloum Constituency and former Coordinator of National Enterprise Development Initiative (NEDI), and Ismaila Njie, the former Accountant of NEDI, yesterday, 04th June 2015, pleaded not guilty to the 23 charges preferred against them and were granted bail in the sum of 9 million for the former and 6 million for the latter by Justice Simeon Ateh Abi of the Banjul High Court.
The charges include neglect of official duty, disobedience of a statutory duty, economic crimes, stealing by persons in public service, making false document and uttering false documents, all contrary to the laws of The Gambia.
After taking their plea, Lawyer Edward A. Gomez, counsel for the two accused, craved the indulgence of the court for the accused to remain on their previous bail granted by the court before he filed another bail application.
The Director of Public Prosecution did not object to the application but drew the attention of the court to the new bill of indictment.
The presiding judge, in his ruling, granted bail to the two accused persons in the sum of 9 million and 6 million dalasi to Mr. Ceesay and Mr. Njie, respectively, with two Gambian sureties for each and for them to surrender their travelling documents to the Principal Registrar of the high court.
Justice Abi added that the accused persons should be kept in prison custody if they do not fulfill the bail conditions.
The prosecution alleged that the duo, sometime between October 2009 and December 2012, in Banjul and diverse places in the Republic of The Gambia, whilst being employed as coordinator and accountant of National Enterprise for Development Initiative respectively, willfully neglected to comply with Gambia Public Procurement Authority regulations when they procured goods worth D2, 400,000 from Farouk Trading.
It is also alleged that between the same dates, in Banjul and diverse places in the Republic of The Gambia, the accused persons willfully disobeyed the GPPA regulations when they procured goods worth D2, 400, 000 from Farouk Trading without GPPA’s approval.
They are further alleged to have caused loss to the Gambia Government in the sum of D5, 662, 290 being loans disbursed to several vendors which could not be recovered due to inadequate security.
The first accused, Pa Malick Ceesay, is alleged to have, sometime between October 2009 to December 2012, in Banjul and diverse places in the country, whilst being employed as coordinator of NEDI, stole the sum of D113, 000, being loan repayment made by the Ministry of Youth and Sports.
The prosecution also alleged that he stole the sum of D50, 000 being monies collected from one Sainabou Sey meant for repayment of forms and loans.
The former NAM was also alleged to have stolen the sum of D13, 000 being money collected from one Modou Ceesay meant for repayment of forms and loans as well as the sum of D39, 000 being balance of D60, 000 meant to set up business for Swandu Jallow.
Furthermore, Pa Malick Ceesay was charged with stealing the sum of D80, 000 being balance of D680, 000 disbursed to 60 vendors and thereby committed an offence.
The former NAM is alleged to have willfully neglected his official duties when he disbursed loan amounting to D325, 670 to Oases Fishing Association out of which D313, 670 could not be recovered due to inadequate documentation.
The prosecution alleged that he further willfully neglected his official duties when he disbursed loan amounting to D325, 670 to Lower Saloum Fishing Association out of which D309, 170 could not be recovered due to inadequate documentation.
The duo is alleged to have willfully neglected to perform their official duties when they failed to maintain petty cash vouchers as provided by the financial instructions.
They are also jointly charged for willfully disobeying the financial instruction regulations by failing to maintain petty cash vouchers, whilst Pa Malick Ceesay is alleged to have stolen the sum of D3000 being balance of D10, 000 meant for the servicing of official vehicles and purchasing of beverages.
The prosecution alleged that the erstwhile NAM further stole a U20 machine, a drawing machine, a picas sewing machine, and a grofil machine, valued at an amount of D50, 000 meant for Swandu Jallow’s tailoring shop.
The former NAM is alleged to have stolen D5, 000 being balance of D19, 000 meant for payment of trek allowance. He was also alleged to have stolen the sum of D28, 500 being balance of D75, 000 meant for payment of trek allowance to NEDI and Ministry of Youth and Sports staff.
He is also alleged to have caused loss to the Gambian government when he stole U20 machine, grofil machine, drawing machine government and a pisca sewing machine all valued at D81, 000, an act which is detrimental to the economy of The Gambia.
The prosecution alleged that he also caused loss to the Gambian government in the sum of one hundred and sixteen thousand and five hundred Dalasi (D116, 500) when he stole money received for different transactions, an act which is detrimental to the economy of the Gambia.
Pa Malick Ceesay is also charged for making a receipt of D60, 000.00 purported to be rent for Swandu Jallow’s tailoring shop and that he uttered a receipt of D60, 000.00 purported to be rent to Swandu Jallow’s tailoring shop.
The case was adjourned to 9th June at 3pm for hearing.