By Mamadou Dem
Magistrate Nche Blessed of the Banjul Magistrates Court yesterday, 1 December, convicted and sentenced Mr. Emedeme Solomon Michael Uche to a fine of fifty thousand dalasi in default to serve five years imprisonment.
On count two, the convict was acquitted and discharged while on count three he was ordered to pay the sum of fifteen thousand or in default to serve one year imprisonment.
The trial magistrate added that the sentences will run concurrently if the convict fails to pay the fine, starting from the day he was remanded.
During the course of the trial, the prosecution called three witnesses, including one Mr. Foday Baldeh, a former lecturer at the University of The Gambia (UTG).
Mr. Uche, a Nigerian by nationality, was first arraigned before Magistrate Fatou Darboe on the 17th of August, 2015 for wrongly informing Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh that the book he (accused) wrote titled “Why the 22nd July was necessary” was authenticated and reviewed by the said Mr. Baldeh.
Prior to his arrest and subsequent arraignment in court, Mr. Uche was a teacher at the Rev. J. C. Faye Senior Secondary School and also a medical student at the University of The Gambia.
Mr. Uche was standing trial on such charges as ‘Giving False information to a public officer’, ‘Making a false document’ and ‘Attempt to commit offence’, a misdemeanor contrary to section 365 of the Criminal Code.
The accused was admitted to bail on the first day he appeared in court but could not fulfill the conditions and was held up to the end of this trial.
Prosecutors alleged on count one that sometime in the year 2015 at Banjul within the jurisdiction of the Court, the accused did commit an offence to wit: informed President Yahya Jammeh that his book titled “Why the July 22nd was necessary” was authenticated and reviewed by Foday Baldeh and other academic staff affiliated with the University of The Gambia which statement he knew and believed to be false in order to induce the president to finance the publication and the launching of the said book and thereby committed an offence.
Count two stated that the aforesaid person sometime in 2015 in Banjul and within the jurisdiction of the court, did commit an offence by writing a letter addressed to President Jammeh and introduced into the said letter the logo and trade mark of Mr. Foday Baldeh’s business without authority whilst it was being drawn up which if it had been authorized would have altered the effect of the document and thereby committed an offence.
The particulars of offence on count three stated that Mr. Uche sometime in 2015 in Banjul and within the jurisdiction of the court did commit an offence by attempting to obtain money by false pretence when he fraudulently informed the president that his book titled “Why the 22nd July was necessary” was authenticated and reviewed by Mr. Foday Baldeh and other academic staff affiliated with the University of the Gambia and thereby committed an offence.