Absence of Prosecution Witness Hampers Pa Malick & Co Trial

By Rohey Jadama

The criminal case involving Pa Malick Ceesay, the erstwhile National Assembly Member for Lower Saloum Constituency andPa Malick Ceesay former Coordinator of National Enterprise Development Initiative (NEDI), and Ismaila Njie, the former Accountant of NEDI, who is facing 23 criminal charges did not proceed due to the absence of prosecution witnesses.

When the case was called, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Hadi  Saleh  Barkum told the court that none of their witnesses was in court and he added that the defence counsel told him that the matter was slated for hearing; because of that he applied for an adjournment to enable him bring their witness. The DPP apologized for the inconvenience caused.

However, there was no objection from Defence Counsel Edward Gomez.

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.

Ceesay and Njie were first arraigned at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court presided over by Principal Magistrate Dawda Jallow, on Tuesday, 14 April and charged with  seventeen criminal offences ranging from economic crime, abuse of office, negligence of official duty and theft, among others. The duo denied any wrong doing.

However, Ceesay and Njie were denied bail because the prosecution did raise fears that the accused persons will escape or tamper with prosecution witnesses and the matter was transferred to the high court.

At the high court the charges were amended and they were indicted with 23 criminal charges against them and the duo denied culpability, prompting the prosecution, led by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to apply for an adjournment to call their witnesses in an effort to prove their  case.