A magistrate court in Banjul has granted bail to the twenty eight government officials, who were arrested one month ago, on charges of abuse of office, the Freedom Newspaper can reveal. Out of the twenty eight bailed public officials, eight of them were Permanent Secretaries. The accused persons were bailed in the sum of D250, 000 with two Gambian sureties. They were also asked to deposit their title deeds whose value is D250, 000. The court also ruled that the bailed officials should surrender their traveling documents and should not leave the jurisdiction of The Gambia under no circumstances.
Magistrate Omar Cham of the Banjul magistrates’ court granted the bail. The accused persons have been charged with neglect of official duties and abuse of office. The detainees have vehemently denied the charges.
Inspector S. Sanyang stood and said he was representing the IGP, while Lawyer Lamin S. Camara rose and told the court that he was representing the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 9th, 10th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 18th, 19th, 21st, 23rd, 24th and 27th accused persons. Camara said he was representing the 19th accused person together with Combeh Gaye-Coker.
Lawyer Surahata Janneh represented the 6th, 7th and the 20th accused persons with lawyer Batchilly. Hawa Sisay-Sabally said she was representing the 28 accused person and together with Omar Njie, Yassin Senghore and Amie Jobe, they represented the 25th accused person.
Omar Njie, said he was representing the 12th accused person, and with him was Combeh Gaye-Coker representing the 11th accused person.
Patrick Gomez represented the 3rd and 17th accused persons.
The 6th, 13th and 26 accused persons were absent in court.
In his ruling, magistrate Cham said the offences in question are bailable offenses. He cited the submission made by defense counsel Lamin Camara, who invoked the Criminal Procedure Code and the Constitution to back up his application for bail. He ruled that police prosecutor, Assistant Superintendent P.L. Badjie opposed the bail application, submitting that the accused persons were holding senior government positions, and if they were granted bail, it would affect the case, and that the investigations were ongoing. He said the prosecutor further stated that the accused persons would jump bail if they were granted bail.
Having closely examined the submissions made by the defense and the prosecution, magistrate Cham said his court has the discretion to grant bail to the accused persons. Hence, he accordingly granted bail to accused public officials.