By Rohey Jadama
The state has now increased the charges against Lamin Fatajo, former Project Coordinator of the former Rural Finance Project, Muhammed Lamin Mass, acting Finance and Administrative Manager of the same project, and Madam Ada Gaye, erstwhile Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, from 4 to 11 before Justice Simeon Ateh Abi of the Banjul High Court.
The charges include ‘Abuse of Office’, ‘Neglect of official duty’, ‘Economic Crime’, ‘Disobedience to Statutory’, among others.
When the case was called, state counsel A. Adiayemi reminded the court that the matter is slated for plea taking.
Responding to the prosecution, Sheriff S.M. Tambadou, defence counsel for the 3rd accused, told the court that they were served with the bill of indictment in the court and therefore he did not advise his client as to how to plead.
Lawyer Edward Gomez, counsel for the 1st and 2nd accused persons associated himself with the position of barrister Tambadou.
The trial judge adjourned the case to 18th of June 2015 at 12 noon for plea taking and hearing.
The prosecution, on count, alleges that Lamin Fatajo, and Lamin Mass, between February and November 2013, while being employed as Programme Coordinator of Rural Finance Project and acting finance administrative manager of the Rural Finance Project respectively, abused their offices by authorizing and approving the payment of D117, 521 as salary advances for project staff in contravention of the projects finance and administration procedure manual.
Count two states that Messrs. Fatajo and Mass, between December 2013 and May 2014, neglected their duties by failing to stop the payment of D18, 000 as sitting allowances to some committee members who failed to attend such meetings.
Count three states that Fatajo, Mass and Madam Gaye, whilst being employed as Programme Coordinator of Rural Finance Project and acting Finance/ Administrative Manager of the Rural Finance Project and Permanent Secretary respectively, approved and paid the sum of D120, 000 to a committee as honorarium for a meeting that never took place.
It alleges in count four that the trio approved and paid the sum of D20, 000 to Ada Gaye, Dawda Fadera and Pateh Jah as remuneration for report that was never prepared.
On count five, Lamin Fatajo is alleged to have signed a contract amounting to D200, 000 with one Sheriff Sanyang in contravention of the Gambia Public Procurement Authority Act.
Count six alleges that Fatajo has awarded a contract to one Bai Senghore and paid him the sum of D100, 000 in contravention of the Gambia Public Procurement Authority Act.
Count seven alleges that Ms. Ada Gaye and Lamin Mass have neglected their official duties by authorising the payment of $14000 to Sonko Fofana without seeking and obtaining approval from IFAD.
On count eight, Fatajo and Mass are alleged to have opened an account with Keystone Bank for friends consult Ltd, a Ugandan firm, through Rural Finance and Economic Affairs and the Ministry of Agriculture.
Count Nine alleges that Fatajo and Mass abused their offices by opening an account with Keystone Bank for friends consult Ltd to access funds from IFAD without approval from the authorities.
Lamin Fatajo, on count ten, is alleged to have abused his office by taking one Alhagie Jammeh, the RFD day watchman on the President’s Dialogue with the people’s tour as his personal guard at the cost of D13,117. 50.
The eleventh count alleges that Fatajo paid himself an excess amount of D20, 250 per diem whilst travelling to the Democratic Republic of Congo.