By Rohey Jadama
The Former Executive members of Gambia Scout Association who were detained for 5 days were arraigned before Magistrate Kijera of Kanifing Magistrates’ Court yesterday 9th September, 2015 on various offences.
The charges range from “Conspiracy to commit felony”, “obtaining money by false pretence” and “stealing”. They were denied bail.
The accused persons are Ousman Y Jatta, Amat Sowe, Momodou Mendy, Essa Jarjusey, Adama Beyai and Maimuna Bah.
When the case was called Sergeant 544 Jaiteh announced his representation for the Inspector General of Police, the accused persons are yet to secure the services of a lawyer and therefore appeared in person.
When the charges were read to the accused persons they all denied culpability. At this juncture, prosecutor Jaiteh urged the court to deny the accused persons bail. He argued that the matter is on-going investigation and they fear that if they are released on bail, they will tamper with witnesses, that they may repeat the same offences.
Jaiteh further told the court that looking at the weight and severity of the offences charged the accused persons may not appear in court to answer to the charges against them. “I urge the court not to grant them bail even though the charges are all bailable,” he submitted.
Prosecutor Jaiteh said the accused persons had been serving in The Gambia Scout for a long time and as such they will tamper with prosecution witnesses and based on that he urged the court to deny the accused persons bail until investigation is completed.
At this juncture the trial magistrate enquired from the prosecution how long their investigation will last, noting that the accused persons cannot be denied bail indefinitely. In response the prosecution told the court that their investigation will be completed next week.
Reacting to the prosecution claims, all the accused persons intimated to the court that they will not tamper with witnesses and investigation. That their accounts were audited and the books are with the police. They told the court that they are all breadwinners of their families and heads of institutions in their schools where they teach. They finally told the court that if they are granted bail they will appear to answer to the charges against them.
In his ruling, the presiding magistrate said, “I have considered the reasons of the prosecution that they will be done with the investigation next week and the accused person’s bail will be considered in the next adjourned date.” He however, ruled that the accused be remanded in police custody.
The case was adjourned till Tuesday 15th September, 2015 for hearing.
The charge in count one is conspiracy to commit a felony. It is alleged in count one that Ousman Y Jatta , Amat Sowe, Momodou Mendy, Essa Jarjusey, Adama Beyai and Maimuna Bah in the years 2012 to 2014 at Bakoteh, whilst being executive members of the Gambia Scout Association conspired amongst themselves to wit collecting over D700,000 from various non scout members with the pretext to include them in trips to attend international jamborees in different parts of Europe.
Count two is “Obtaining money by false Pretence.“ It states that Jatta, Sowe, Mendy, Jarjusey, Beyai and Bah in the same place and year as executive members of the same association obtained D700,000 from various non scout members with the pretext to include them in trips to attend international jamborees in different parts of Europe.
Count 3 is ”Stealing”. It reads: Essa Jarjusey while serving as assistant secretary general of the Gambia Scout Association has stolen a motor vehicle, mark Toyota, registration number KM 1907 belonging to the Gambia Scout Association.