By Kemeseng Sanneh (KEXX)
The State filed a motion seeking a court order for the sureties of Kaddija Kebbeh to show cause why their bail bond should not be forfeited to the State.
The state wants the sureties to produce Khadija Kebbeh or explain why their respective bail bond should not be forfeited to the state. It is important to point out that the motion does not stop the State from making an application for an arrest warrant to get her arrested.
When the case was called on Wednesday, 21 June, the sureties were nowhere to be found. State Counsel Lamin Jarju informed the court that the process server of the court could not serve the sureties. The Judge summoned the process server, who informed the court that he was at the police station to serve the two sureties. They were expected to report at the police on bail. He explained that he waited at the station for about 45 minutes, but the sureties did not show up and he left.
The application to forfeit the bail bond was supported by an affidavit in-support sworn to by Detective Superintendent of Police Lamin Cham. Cham stated that on or about 20 December 2021, the Office of the Inspector General of Police received a complaint from one Abubakar Jawara, the Chief Executive Officer of Global Trading Company Ltd (GACH) requesting for an investigation into alleged obtaining money by false pretences and theft against Khadija Kebbeh. He said the Office of the Inspector General further assessed the complaint and found that there was merit in it. He added that he was part of the team of investigators constituted by the police.
He said Khadija Kebbeh was arrested, detained and investigated on allegations of obtaining money by false pretences, theft and money laundering offences.
“The investigations revealed that the Accused/Respondent [Khadija Kebbeh] stole 20,000 US Dollars, 749,965Euros and D2 Million….., being the money for the payment of petroleum products belonging to GACH Company Ltd,” Cham said.
Cham said Khadija Kebbeh was cautioned and charged accordingly.
“She was subsequently granted a police bail in the sum of D59, 500,000.00 with two Gambian sureties namely: one Alfusainey Jawara of Kanifing South and one Salif Banna Drammeh of Kotu West, who deposed to affidavits of means and deposited their title deeds of landed properties to the secure bail for the Accused/Respondent. Copies of recognisances and affidavits of means as well as the title deeds of landed properties are now produced and shown to me marked in a bundle as Exhibits “A, A1 B, B1, C, D, E, F,” Cham said.
He informed the court that Kebbeh deposited her passport to ensure her appearance as part of the bail conditions. A copy of her passport was produced and marked as “Exhibit G”. He said since the execution of the police bail bond, Khadija was reporting to the Banjul Police Station, Police Headquarters on police bail regularly. He added that on or about the 4 January 2023, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions filed an indictment of four counts of stealing and money laundering against her.
“Following the filing of the indictment in January 2023. the Accused/Respondent [Khadija Kebbeh] left the jurisdiction. The filing of the indictment was published on social media and in local newspapers,” Cham said.
Cham said he is with the conviction that Khadija got notice of the filing of the indictment through the publication on social media and local newspapers and as a result of such publicity, she became aware and fled out of the jurisdiction.
“Since January 2023 the Accused/Respondent has not been reporting on police bail, and I personally reached out to the sureties to ensure the Accused reports on police bail,” Cham said, adding “l verily believe that the Accused/Respondent is on the run and she will not voluntarily submit herself to this Court to answer to the charges against her unless she is arrested and brought to this Court.” He said efforts were made to serve Khadija with a copy of the indictment, but it remains futile.
“The Accused/Respondent has breached her bail bond for appearance and I verily believe that the sureties have failed in their obligation to ensure that the accused report on bail in fulfilment of her bail conditions as well as ensure her presence in the jurisdiction,” he said.
Cham said The Gambia is a party to UN Conventions and Multilateral agreements on mutual legal assistance and extradition in criminal matters and due to the nature of the offence under inquiry, Khadija Kebbeh can be arrested and brought to the Gambia through police-to-police cooperation and extradition procedures.
Cham said the application to forfeit the bail bond is brought in the interest of justice.
The case is adjourned till July 6, 2023 at 09:30 for the sureties to either produce the accused or show cause why their bonds should not be forfeited to the State.