By Lamin Fatty
A trial Magistrate in Basse has on Wednesday convicted five out of six persons accused of stealing seventy-one gallons of 20-liters fuel from NAWEC.
They were charged with stealing and conspiracy to commit felony. The five accused persons pleaded guilty to committing the offence while one pleaded not guilty. The five, who pleaded guilty were Lamin Samateh, Alagie Sabally, Omar Jawo, Saikou Jammeh, and Musa Jallow. Samba Baldeh pleaded not guilty to the offence charged and hearing on the case will be heard on the 16th June. Baldeh is on bail and the prosecution were asked to open their case.
Magistrate Omar Jabang of the Basse Magistrate’s Court said “Stealing from service providers like NAWEC which is there for everyone with the full knowledge that the service provider relies on fuel to operate is bad.”
Jabang said the prosecution has not adduced evidence to ascertain whether the convicts are employees of NAWEC or otherwise.
He added: “I would not have hesitated to send the convicts to Janjangbureh for custodial sentence if not for COVID-19 due to judicial policy to decongest the prison because of this evil virus. The convicts are lucky and should be appreciative of the COVID-19.”
The trial magistrate said the convicts deserve punishment adding they cannot be cautioned and discharged just like that.
Jabang asked the convicts to pay each D10,000 in default for an imprisonment of 2 years with hard labour for stealing. On the second count, the Magistrate asked them to pay each D15,000 in default to serve 2 years’ imprisonment.