Principal Magistrate Hilary Utabi Abeke’s “independence and impartiality” as a magistrate, has been questioned by the Kombo Central Independent National Assembly Member Buba Ayi Sanneh, who is currently facing charges of criminal trespass and assault, the Freedom Newspaper can report. The alleged offence took place at Mr. Sanneh’s own family home in Brikama sometime in January. He was accused of trespass and assault by a drug convicted felon called Musa Gomez. Mr. Gomez, has been hosted at the Sanneh home for over twenty years. He never paid rent or food throughout his stay at the family Kabilo home. He is still living at the property despite the pending criminal case hanging on his host’s head.
Mr. Sanneh, speaking from his Brikama home on Sunday, in an exclusive interview with Freedom Radio Gambia, said even though his accuser Musa Gomez, has formally filed an affidavit before the court, expressing his desire to withdraw the charges proffered against him (Sanneh) by the Inspector General of police, the Nigerian born magistrate refused to entertain the complaint’s request. Hon. Sanneh even went on to say that magistrate Hilary threatened to jail his accuser at the mosquito infested mile two prison, if he (Musa Gomez) continues to make noise over dropping the criminal charges against Sanneh.
“The sitting magistrate Hilary Utabi said Musa Gomez, cannot withdraw the case even though Musa Gomez, the complainant, has wrote to the court, asking for the case to be withdrawn. Magistrate Hilary also said in court that if he (Musa) fails to comply with his decision for the case to proceed, he would take him to mile two prison. Under the circumstances, I am not convinced that I will receive justice. I don’t think magistrate Hilary will dispense justice with fairness in my case,” said Honorable Buba Ayi Sanneh.
Mr. Sanneh is yet to formally convey his doubts over the magistrate’s impartiality to his defense lawyer. He said he doesn’t know that he can file a complaint before the same court asking magistrate Hilary to rescue himself from the case in view of his expressed reservations against the magistrate’s conduct on the pending matter. But Sanneh told journalist Pa Nderry M’Bai that he would raise the matter with his law before the next court date.
The popular Kombo Central youth activist told Freedom Radio Gambia that the police also intimated to him, when he was initially invited to the Brikama police station for questioning; that they the (police) had received orders from “the top” to prosecute his case. In The Gambia, when you hear that the police had received “orders from the top” it means that the President Yahya Jammeh is personally pulling the strings from afar. That Jammeh is the one instructing the police to diligently prosecute the matter and possibly secure a conviction against the accused person concerned.
Mr. Sanneh is worried that he might lose his seat in Parliament once Jammeh’s kangaroo court convicts him. The National Assembly, has been notified by the police that one of their members in the person of Buba Ayi Sanneh, has been criminally charged pending the outcome of Sanneh’s case. If convicted, Sanneh could lose his seat in Parliament.
Even though Sanneh has flatly denied what he calls the “frivolous charges” brought against him by the police, Sanneh said the state’s primary desire is to ruin his political career by using a person that he has personally fed for over seven good years at his home. He found his case to be absurd and ridiculous.
“I am one hundred percent sure that there is a political implication associated with my trial. My trial is politically motivated. When my case was before the police, the members of our “Sanneh Kabilo” appealed to Musa to withdraw the case, but he never listen to them. He was being influenced by some outsiders. He finally agreed to withdraw the case. He wrote to the court asking for the case to be withdrawn, but the magistrate flatly refused. He said the matter is now between the IGP and my humble self. In that, Musa is going to be used by the IGP as a principal witness,” Sanneh explained.
Sanneh’s accuser James Gomez, was a Christian, before baptizing to Islam. His Muslim name is Musa Gomez. He is believed to be 40 years old. He came from Niumi, Nema. Sanneh’s brother Omar Sanneh, who now lives in the UK, brought Gomez to their family home in Brikama. Gomez, was immediately adopted by the Sanneh family. He was allocated his own room.
According to Buba Ayi Sanneh, his accuser has a longstanding criminal history. He said Musa Gomez, is somehow a habitual criminal, who walks in and out of police custody. Gomez, he said, was convicted for drug trafficking in the nineties and sentenced to six years in prison. He was also jailed for burglarizing a container belonging to the Hands and Care Hospital of Brikama, he said.
According to Sanneh, each time Musa Gomez, had gotten into trouble with the law, he and the Sanneh family would come to his aid. Sanneh said it doesn’t make sense for anyone to use such an adopted member of their family to politically crucify or persecute him.
The problem between Buba Ayi Sanneh and Musa Gomez stem out from an indoor musical entertainment. Sanneh said Gomez often disturbs the peace by playing music loud at night in his room. He has made repeated efforts to talk to Gomez, to lower the volume of his radio, but Gomez wouldn’t heed. It was during one of his visits to Musa’s room that an altercation ensued between the two. Musa then claimed that he was assaulted by Sanneh.
Politician Buba Ayi Sanneh is being represented by Lawyer Lamin Camara. He said the prosecutor assigned to his case is one OC Sainey Joof. Sanneh noted that having such a high profile officer on a matter, which could have been handled by a police constable, confirms his fears that his case is politically motivated. The full interview would be aired in our Sunday Leral Show. Stay tuned.
Written By Pa Nderry M’Bai