Saturday, September 26, 2020

Immigration Officer Testifies in Trafficking in Person Case Involving Two Nigerians

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By Yankuba Jallow

Samba Bah of the Gambia Immigration Department has concluded giving evidence in the trafficking in person case of a Nigerian man and woman.

He appeared before the Banjul High Court before Justice Ebrima Jaiteh on Wednesday, 17th June 2020. The two accused persons were Lucy Malachi also known as Happiness, a Nigerian lady and Christiani Oranugo, a Nigerian man, who absconded the jurisdiction while under bail.

Samba Bah said the victim, Benita, told him that she used to sleep with fifteen men in a night and each pays her one hundred dalasis. Bah recounted that when the victim went home, she was bleeding and handed the money to Lucy, the first accused person. Officer Bah said when Lucy counted the money and became furious because it was one thousand five hundred dalasis. Lucy complained to the victim telling her that prostitutes take home nothing less than two thousand dalasis. The witness testified that the next day, Lucy moved the victim to another sex work place dubbed Class One and this time she began coming home with two thousand dalasis.

Bah who served nine years in the Immigration Department said the victim was never happy with the sex work and this was why she absconded. He adduced that one day, the victim went to do the sex work, but this time she was having some of her clothing in her back. When she closed, instead of going home, she reported the matter to the Sanchaba Sulay Jobe Police Station. After the case was reported, Lucy was arrested from home and taken to the police station.

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“When Christiani came to the station the young girl (the victim) pointed at him and said this is the gentleman who brought me from Nigeria,” Bah said.

Witness Bah said Lucy promised the victim that she will pay her two hundred and fifty thousand naira every day. Bah said the victim told the investigating officers that she was not willing to do the sex work, but Lucy put her in that business.

In fact, the victim said Christiani was having her passport and wouldn’t give it to her for any reason.

Bah said the other victims together with Benita were all kept at the Government’s base in Bakoteh, but they all escaped from custody except Benita. The witness said Benita’s return was facilitated, adding Christiani absconded the jurisdiction.

Lucy is charged with conspiracy to commit felony contrary to section 368 of the Criminal Code. According to the particulars of offence, the two accused persons between the period of 2017 and 2018 at Sukuta agreed among themselves to import one Benita Robert from Nigeria to the Gambia and forced her into prostitution.

The two were also charged with conspiracy to defile contrary to section 136 of the Criminal Code. According to the particulars of the offence, both of the accused persons in 2017 and 2018 at Sukuta, agreed among themselves by means of false pretense permitted men to have unlawful carnal knowledge of one Benita Robert, a 16-year-old girl, Peace Sunday, 18-year-old girl and Blessing Effiong, also 18-year-old girl.

Lucy and Christiani were charged with trafficking in person contrary to section 28 (5) of the Trafficking in Persons Act. According to the particulars of the offence, the two between the period of October 2017 and January 2018 at Sukuta transported one Benita Robert, Peace Sunday, Blessing Effiong and Grace Ita from Nigeria to the Gambia for the purpose of exploitation and prostitution.

The two are charged with trafficking in person contrary to section 28 (5) of the Trafficking in Persons Act. According to the indictment, in January 2018 at Sukuta, the two transported one Benita Robert from Nigeria to the Gambia for the purpose of exploitation and prostitution.

They are also charged with acting as intermediary for the purpose of trafficking contrary to section 29 of the Trafficking in Persons Act. According to the particulars of the offence, Christiani Oranugo sometime in January 2018 whilst acting as agent outside and in the Gambia participated in transportation of one Benita Robert into the Gambia from Nigeria for the purpose of trafficking.

Both are charged with exportation and importation of persons from and into the Gambia contrary to section 32 (b) of the Trafficking in Persons Act. According to the particulars, Lucy and Christiani between the period of October 2017 and January 2018 at Sukuta imported one Benita Robert, Peace Sunday, Blessing Effiong and Grace Ita into the Gambia from Nigeria to force them into prostitution.

Lucy and Christiani are also charged with money laundering contrary to section 22 (a) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Combating of Terrorist Financing Act, 2012. According to the particulars, the two accused persons between the period of October 2017 and January 2018 at Sukuta received money amounting to five hundred thousand dalasis (D500,000) from one Benita Robert, Peace Sunday, Blessing Effiong and Grace Ita knowing that the money is proceeds of a crime.

On the eight count, Lucy and Christiani were charged with Procuration contrary to section 129 (a) of the Criminal Code. According to the particulars of the offence, the two were accused to have procured and transported Benita Robert, Peace Sunday, Blessing Effiong and Grace Ita.

Lucy was charged with Procuration contrary to section 129 (a) of the Criminal Code. According to the particulars of the offence, she procured and transported Benita Robert, a 16-year-old girl from Nigeria to the Gambia for the purpose of prostitution.

On count 10, Christiani was charged with male person living on earnings of prostitution or persistently soliciting contrary to section 135 (1) (a) of the Criminal Code. According to the particulars, he used to live wholly or partly from the earnings of the prostitutes between 2017 and 2018 in Sukuta.

On the final count, Lucy was charged with female person living on earnings of prostitution or persistently soliciting contrary to section 136 of the Criminal Code. According to the particulars of the offence, Lucy used to live wholly and partly on the earnings of the prostitutes between 2017 and 2018.

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