2015 IN BRIEF
HIGH PROFILE CASES
We have been publishing a summary of the stories that we published in 2015. We now conclude the summaries of Foroyaa stories on high profile cases in 2015. Some of the cases have been concluded or withdrawn but others are still on; some of the convicts are still in prison while others have been pardoned.
Ebrima Jawara, 4 Others Arraigned
Mr. Ebrima Jawara, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and four others, namely Dr. Alasan Bah, Sulayman Manneh, Lamin Fatajo and Momodou Lamin Mass, all of Rural Finance Project (RFP) were on 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.
Mr. Ebrima Jawara, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, was denied bail on 28 September, 2015, while his co-accused, Dr. Alasan Bah, was granted bail in the sum of 10 million dalasis.
Lamin Fatajo, former project coordinator, Rural Finance Project, Lamin Mass, former acting Finance and Administrative Manager, and Sulayman Manneh, the Auditor of the same project under the ministry of agriculture, were also granted bail in the sum of 7 million and 6 million, respectively, by Justice Muhammed Dan Azumi Balarabe of the Banjul High court on 30 September, 2015.
Prosecutors earlier presented at the lower court in Banjul a ten count charge against the aforesaid persons ranging from ‘Stealing by Person in Public Service’, ‘Abuse of office’, ‘Stealing by clerk or servants’ and ‘Theft to four counts of Economic Crime’. All the accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The case was thus transferred to the high court which has the jurisdiction to hear economic crime cases.
Mr. Ebrima Jawara, was on 14 December, 2015 arraigned again before acting Principal Magistrate Omar Jabang on a single count charge of “Punishment for malicious injuries in general”.
It was announced in a press release issued on Friday, 3 July that the president of the Republic of The Gambia, acting in accordance with the constitution, has pardoned 85 prisoners from the Mile 2 central prison.
Among the prisoners released are Mr. Modou Gaye, a former deputy Inspector General of Police, who was serving a life imprisonment for his role in an attempted coup d’etat which also involved Lt. Gen. Lang Tombong Tamba, the former Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) of the Gambia Armed Forces (GAF), and five others. In this release, he is the only known pardoned prisoner whose conviction was based on a politically related offence.
The rest of the pardoned prisoners are all ex-convicts on common law crimes.
Modou Gaye, former DIGP
Second Pardon: President Jammeh Pardons Convicts from 1994-2013
President Jammeh has announced the pardoning of convicts sentenced to death or are serving life imprisonment from 1994 to 2013, those convicted of treason from 1994 to 2013, murder convicts who have served 10 years or above and drug offence convicts, who are not habitual offenders or repeaters and have served 5 years or more, for hard drugs, and 3 years or more, for cannabis
He made this announcement in his speech marking the 21st anniversary of the 22 July military takeover of government which brought him to power in 1994.
The pardoned prisoners were released before the Jumah prayers on Friday, 24 July, 2015.
GOVERNMENT FINALLY PUBLISHES LIST OF PARDONED PRISONERS
237 prisoners pardoned
The Government of The Gambia finally published the proclamation on the list of pardoned prisoners in compliance with the Constitution. The proclamation was published in the Gambia Gazette Number 21 Vol. 132 and dated 27th August 2015, although the publication was ready and accessible to the public on 14th September 2015.
A quick count shows that 237 prisoners were pardoned. A breakdown of the pardoned prisoners is as follows:
Offence for which the prisoner was convicted Number pardoned
Hard drugs 8
Possession of prohibited drugs 91
Possession of prohibited drugs (Janjangbureh) 7
Rape (juvenile) 1
Drug trafficking 72
Conspiracy and abuse of office 3
Economic crime and abuse of office 7