Monday, May 10, 2021

Judge Gives State Ultimatum to Produce Alleged Fake Bank Notes

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Justice Ademola Bakre of the high court annexe in Banjul on Wednesday gave the State final ultimatum to produce alleged fake bank notes that went missing in the case of Abass Jarju, Alieu Jallow, Saidou Sowe and Amadou Joko Sowe or else he will strike out the matter.

They three are accused of possessing fake bank notes which they all denied.

The alleged ‘fake’ notes were already tendered and admitted in court as evidence and were exhibited. They were reported missing and the State is asked to produce them.

The case was last heard on the 21st March 2019 for the Attorney General to produce the alleged fake bank notes, but for two years the notes have not been produced.

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On the last adjourned date Lawyer A.A. Saho for the Attorney General pleaded with the court to grant them adjournment. He urged the court not to discharge the accused persons as he was going to revert back to the chambers.

The Judge said the exhibits have not been found and the custodian has not been brought to court to give an explanation.

Lawyer Kaddijatou Jallow for the accused persons reminded the court of the commitment that Principal State Counsel Abdul Maita Yusuf made on the 23rd January 2019 that they were going to produce the purported fake currencies and also, he expressed their intention to withdraw the case. She said when they came back on the 24th February 2019, the purported fake currencies were not produced.

When the case was called on Wednesday, 28th April 2021, Lawyer A.A. Ceesay for the Attorney pleaded with the court for one more adjournment. Her reason was that they have on Tuesday summoned the registrar of the high court to appear in the case.

“Why yesterday [Teusday]?” the Judge asked.

“It was brought to my attention yesterday,” Lawyer Ceesay said.

“What were these exhibits?” the Judge asked.

“The money that was recovered as well as the title deeds for their bail was missing,” she said.

Lawyer Ceesay explained that this is not the only case they have issues of missing exhibits.

The Judge said somebody must be responsible for this.

“How can money be recovered and got missing?” the Judge quizzed.

He said the State should start doing things right, adding things like this should not be condoned.

Lawyer Kaddijatou Jallow said the trial has lasted for about five (5) years. She pointed out the summons that were served to the registrar of the high court by the State. She submitted that the case was adjourned since 10th March 2021 for the State to put their house in order.

“How can they wait for a day before the court and file the summons?” she poised.

She submitted that the accused persons have the right to be tried within a reasonable time, adding they have never missed a single court sitting in the case. She urged the court to refuse Lawyer Ceesay’s application for an adjournment for lack of diligence by the prosecution. She said the prosecution cannot continue to hold the accused persons and the court at ransom.

The trial judge gave the State ultimatum to put their house in order. He adjourned the case to 12th May at 10 am for hearing.

On count 1, the accused persons are charged with Conspiracy to commit felony contrary to section 368 of the Criminal Code. According to the particulars of the offence, Abass Jarju, Alieu Jallow and Mustapha (now at large) sometime in August 2015 conspired to commit a felony to wit possession of forged United States Dollar, Euro and CFA Currency notes.

On Count 2, they were charged with purchasing forged notes contrary to section 334 of the Criminal Code. According to the particulars of the offence, Abass Jarju, Alieu Jallow and Mustapha (now at large) in the same year and month allegedly committed an offence after they were found in possession of forged USA dollars currency notes.

On Count 3, the three were charged with purchasing forged notes contrary to section 334 of the Criminal Code. According to the particulars of the offence, Abass Jarju, Alieu Jallow and Mustapha (now at large) in the same year and month allegedly committed an offence after they were found in possession of forged Euro currency notes.

On Count 4, they were charged with purchasing forged notes contrary to section 334 of the Criminal Code. According to the particulars of the offence, Abass Jarju, Alieu Jallow and Mustapha (now at large) in the same year and month allegedly committed an offence after they were found in possession of forged CFA currency notes.

On the fifth and final count 5, they were charged with Accessory after the fact contrary to section 26 (1) of the Criminal Code punishable under section 26 (3) of the Criminal Code. According to the particulars of offence, Saidou Sowe and Amadou Joko Sowe sometime in August 2015 knowing that Abass Jarju was guilty of an offence of possession of forged currency notes assisted him by taking the said notes out of his house to an incomplete building in order to enable Abass Jarju to escape.

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