By Yankuba Jallow & Mariama Marong
Justice Ebrima Jaiteh of the Banjul High Court said on Wednesday he will issue an arrest warrant for State House Protocol Officer Momodou Sowe if he continues to hold the court at ransom.
The Judge made this comment in the diplomatic passport scandal case involving Mansa Sumareh, a former State House driver and Ebrima J. Sanneh a former employee of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The two are standing trial on charges of conspiracy and forgery. They are accused of conspiring among themselves to procure Gambian diplomatic passport for someone.
The prosecution has only been able to call three witnesses in this case. Lawyer Patrick Gomez for the prosecution informed the court that Sowe was the one who was scheduled to testify.
“He [Sowe] wants the court to stand down till 1 pm,” Gomez told the court.
Lawyer Gomez said Sowe sent text message to him saying he has an emergency to take care of at the State House and this is why he won’t be able to come to court at the scheduled time – 12 pm.
Lawyer S. Gaye for the two accused persons informed the court that he was told that Sowe was seen moving around the high court premises in the morning.
“If the case fails to proceed on the next adjourned date, I will either file a subpoena to be issued or I will apply for his name to be struck out,” Gomez told the court.
Justice Jaiteh told the prosecution lawyer Gomez that he should always tell his witnesses that the court takes precedent over all other engagements.
“You don’t have to be too compromising on this issue. If you call him, give him a strict warning that if he fails to come on the next adjourned date, I will issue an arrest warrant and he will be arrested and put behind bars,” Jaiteh said.
The trial Judge stressed that no witness would be let to hold the court at ransom. He encouraged the prosecution lawyer to make an application to get him arrested on the next adjourned date.
“If you make an application to get him arrested, I will grant it,” Justice Jaiteh said.
In August 2018, the Gambia Police Force began investigation into the matter after which Mansa Sumareh was indicted by the State.