By Rohey Jadama
The trial involving 9 officials of the fisheries department charged with 11 criminal
counts did not proceed before Justice Ateh Abi of the Banjul high
court yesterday, 8 July 2015, as the said new bill of indictment
filed against 3 Fisheries officials out of 9 accused persons is yet to
be before the court.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.
The Director of Public Prosecutions, Hadi Saleh Barkum, and Adeyemi, a
state counsel, appeared for the prosecution. SM Tambadou appeared for
the 3rd, 6th, and 9th accused persons, Edward Singhateh appeared for
the 2nd accused and Hawa Sisay Sabally appeared for the 4th accused
person. The 5th and 7th accused persons were not represented.
When the case was called, DPP Barkum told the court that during the
last sitting, the prosecution had filed a bill of indictment against
three out of the 9 accused persons and said he did not know if the bill of
indictment was transmitted to the court.
Justice Abi told the prosecution that the bill of indictment is not
before the court and asked the DPP to check with the Chief Justice
because it can be re-assigned to another court since it is a fresh
matter. He therefore asked the DPP to check to ensure if the case has
been assigned to another court.
The case was then adjourned to 29th July 2015 at 3pm for mention.
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 persons 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.