Ebrima Jawara, 4 Others Arraigned, Remanded

By Mamadou Dem

Mr. Ebrima Jawara, the current Central Project Coordinating Unit Coordinator (CPCU) and four others, namely Dr. Alasan Bah, Ebrima Jawara, CPCU CoordinatorSulayman Manneh, Lamin Fatajo and Momodou Lamin Mass, all of Rural Finance Project (RFP) were yesterday, Monday, 7 September, arraigned before Magistrate Fatou Darboe of Banjul Magistrates Court.

Prosecutors presented a ten count indictment against the five agric officials ranging from alleged stealing by person in public service, abuse of office, stealing by clerk or servant theft and four economic crimes related counts.

Prosecutors alleged on count one that the aforesaid persons sometime in 2008 and 2011, in Banjul and diverse places in the Republic of the Gambia, being employees under Rural Finance Project (RFP) allocated themselves a monthly fuel allowance of D8,432,720 (Eight million Four Hundred and Thirty Two Thousand, Seven Hundred and Twenty Dalasis) for two months without approval from the Project Steering Committee thereby causing economic loss to the Government of The Gambia.

The particulars of offence for count two states that the four accused persons sometime in 2008 and 2011 allocated themselves a monthly allocation of fuel allowance for two months amounting to D8, 432,720 (Eight million Four hundred and Thirty Two thousand, Seven hundred and twenty dalasis) for two months without approval from the Project Steering Committee thereby causing economic loss to the Government of The Gambia.

On Count Three, it is alleged that Mr. Ebrima Jawara and his co accused sometime in 2008 and 2011, while serving in different capacities at the Rural Finance Project (RFP) under the Government of the Gambia, abused their functions and responsibilities.

Count four alleges that Ebrima Jawara sometime in 2008 and 2011, while serving as the Project coordinator for Rural Finance Project took a loan worth D300,000 (Three hundred thousand dalasis) from PIWAMP and the repayment of which was diverted into his personal use.

Count five states that Mr. Ebrima Jawara sometime in 2008 and 2011, while serving as the project coordinator for RFP, stole D300, 000 (Three hundred thousand dalasis) which was meant for loan repayment to (PIWAMP).

On count six, it is alleged Mr. Ebrima Jawara sometime in 2008 and 2011, being Project Coordinator for RFP, fraudulently paid on behalf of Bai Ndongo Faal in relation to a training an amount of D110,731,00 (One hundred and Ten thousand, Seven hundred and thirty one dalasis) to GAMSAVINGS, thereby causing economic loss to the Government of The Gambia.

Count seven alleges that the first accused, Dr. Alasan Bah, sometime in 2008 and 2011, being the Project Coordinator for Rural Finance Project (RFP), received a fuel allowance amounting to D100,500 (One hundred thousand, five hundred dalasis) which he could not account for thereby causing economic loss to the Government of the Gambia.

It is alleged on count eight that Dr. Alasan Bah between 2008 and 2011, as the Project Coordinator for Rural Finance Project, caused economic loss to the Government of the Gambia through his Africell roaming sim card.

Count nine alleges that Dr. Alasan Bah sometime in 2008 and 2011, as Project Coordinator for RFP, diverted an amount of D740,125 (Seven hundred and forty thousand, one hundred and twenty five dalasis) meant for the training vote thereby causing economic loss to the Government of The Gambia.

The tenth count alleges that Mr. Momodou Lamin Mass, sometime in 2008 and 2011, as the acting Finance and Administrative Manager for RFP, awarded contracts to different vendors amounting to D8,113,132 (Eight million one hundred and thirteen thousand one hundred and thirty two dalasi) without competitive bidding thereby causing economic loss to the Government of The Gambia.

However, all the five accused persons pleaded not guilty as charged and were consequently remanded in prison custody pending their appearance at the superior court (High Court)

Prior to remanding the accused persons at state central prison at Mile II, the police prosecution, headed by Almameh Manga, alongside Superintendent of Police Yahya Touray, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Lamin Badjie, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Musa Camara and Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP)Sajor Bah, cited section 62 of the Criminal Procedure Code in their application for the matter to be transferred to the high court, arguing that the lower court lacks the jurisdiction to try offences under the Economic Crimes (Specified Offences) Act.

“We also want to rely under section 208 (A) of the CPC to support our application and for all accused persons to be remanded in prison custody,” he submitted.

The accused persons, however, were not represented by counsels to argue for them. The trial magistrate therefore transferred the matter to the Chief Justice for re-assignment. “Meanwhile, all the five accused persons are remanded in custody pending their appearance at the high court,” ruled Magistrate Darboe.