By Yankuba Jallow
The Banjul High Court presided over by Justice Ebrima Jaiteh has on Thursday, 4th June 2020 granted bail to a former chief driver at State House and a protocol officer at the Ministry of foreign affair on bail.
The two are standing trial on charges of conspiracy and forgery. They are accused of conspiring among themselves to procure Gambian diplomatic passports. In a space of two years, 2017 and 2018 to be precise, the Gambia issued over a thousand diplomatic passports.
In August 2018, the Gambia Police Force began investigation into the matter after which Mansa Sumareh, an ex-State House driver and Ebrima J. Sanneh from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs were implicated.
They were accused together with two other protocol officers in the persons of Saikou Sanneh and Ousman Touray, both from the same Ministry.
They are standing trial on eight criminal counts including forgery, conspiracy to commit felony, false documentation, making document without authority, procurement of execution of documents by false pretense. They both pleaded not guilty while their other two colleague accused persons are at large.
Lawyer S. Gaye for the defence applied bail for the two which was not objected by state counsel Patrick Gomez. Gaye said the offences charged, are all bailable.
Justice Jaiteh relied on section 99 (1) of the Criminal Procedure Code to grant the accused persons bail adding none of the offences attract life imprisonment or sentence to death upon conviction. Justice Jaiteh ruled that each of the accused persons should provide two Gambia sureties who shall sign a bail bond of five hundred thousand dalasis. The two accused persons were ordered to surrender all their travel documents.
The case was adjourned to 17th June 2020 for the continuation of hearing.