Non Service of Indictment Delays 9 Fisheries Officials’ Trial

By Rohey Jadama
The trial involving 9 fisheries  officials charged with 11 criminalNfarama Dampha
counts did not proceed before Justice Ateh Abi of the Banjul high
court yesterday, Thursday, 2nd  July 2015, due to the  failure to
serve both the court and the defence with the filed indictment.The accused persons 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 Gabiddon, Musa Jawla, Abdoulie Njie
and Momodou Njie.
When the case was called, SH. Barkun, the Director of Public
Prosecutions (DPP) told the court that they had filed an indictment.
“My lord, I’m not served with the bill of indictment,” said Hawa
Sisay-Sabally counsel for Dr. Banja.
The trial judge also said the indictment was not before the court.
Consequently, the case was adjourned to Wednesday 8 July, 2015 at 3pm
for plea taking.
It could be recall that the DPP on the 2nd June told the court that
only three people will be charged in the new bill of indictment of the
former fisheries officials facing trial.
However, he did not disclose the names of the three concerned former
fisheries officials but added that investigations are ongoing.
The nine fisheries officials were first arraigned at the Banjul
Magistrates’ Court on 2 February 2015.
The then trial magistrate ordered for 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
Gabiddon, 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.
The nine fisheries officials were earlier indicted on eleven counts
including neglect of official duty, economic crime and abuse of
office, among others.