Senegalese Court Acquits Aisha Fatty on Charges of Blackmailing Thiam 

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By Kemeseng Sanneh (kexx)

Aisha Fatty, a Gambian business lady accused of blackmail by a Senegalese business tycoon, has been acquitted and discharged by a Senegalese court on Friday.

Abdoulaye Thiam, a Senegalese business tycoon accused Aisha of attempting to blackmail him by threatening to expose a nude video of him. The complaint led to Aisha’s arrest and detention upon her arrival in Senegal, leading to a court case.

The first hearing was on the 17th of May 2024. On this day, Thiam’s lawyer requested an adjournment. The request was granted as Thiam was absent. 

The second hearing was held on the 24th May 2024. Aisha pleaded not guilty to the charge on this day. Aisha refuted all allegations, stating that the phone number in question was not hers and that she had no association with the alleged video. 

The prosecution then asked the court to compel Aisha to unlock her phone for examination. Aisha agreed to have her phone examined in court, but refused to surrender her passcode.

Aisha’s legal team consented to the examination of Aisha’s phone but proposed that Thiam’s phone be brought for comparison to avoid fabricated evidence. The court ordered Aisha’s phone to be examined to verify the existence of the alleged video and WhatsApp message.

On the 31st of May 2024, the court continued to hear the case. The Judge informed the court that she was new in the case even though she had gone through the records. She proceeded to read the charges to Aisha. The charges alleged that Aisha had threatened to distribute Thiam’s nude video and pictures without his consent that were allegedly taken during a video call between the two. She requested Aisha’s reaction.

Aisha denied ever recording or distributing a nude video of Thiam without his consent, stating that all videos or pictures she possessed were sent to her by Thiam during their video call exchanges.

Aisha requested Thiam’s presence to identify the video in question. The court stood down for five hours and resumed.

Upon resumption of the proceedings, a file containing the complaint against Aisha was opened to see the evidence, only an audio recording of Aisha’s voice, sent to Thiam, was found in a flash drive, and the audio was played. Aisha confirmed the audio’s authenticity, explaining that she sent it to deter him from involving her then boyfriend in their matter. She explained that the matter was taking the angle of involving her then boyfriend and needed to do that to deter his involvement in the case.

Aisha further explained that to make a stop to inviting her innocent boyfriend by the police, she addressed Thiam in an audio to prevent the boyfriend from being continuously invitated by the police.

Thiam’s lawyer took the floor to examine Aisha’s submissions, but he shifted the focus to a separate case involving claims of vehicles, gold, properties, and money. He gave a detailed explanation of the relationship, the vehicles, the gold, the money and the properties.

Aisha’s legal team responded to these claims and asserted that a civil suit on the same matter is pending in the Gambian Justice system. They further explained to the court that Thiam’s motives in filing the case in Senegal that is already progressing in the Gambia were driven by harassment rather than justice. They countered the claims made by Thiam’s lawyer. They told the court that no evidence was produced by Thiam or his Counsel nor from the file or through his lawyer, adding that their consideration is on the case before the court since the second case is yet to be formally read before the court.

The prosecutor agreed with the defence counsel regarding the lack of evidence against Aisha. The court emphasised that the burden of proof rests onto the complainant, Thiam. The court adjourned the case till 7th of June for judgement.

On the 7th of June, the case was the fourth judgement delivered by the court. The court in its judgement acquitted and discharged Aisha of the blackmail charge due to insufficient evidence to prove the charge.

Thiam’s legal representatives accepted the court’s decision. They did not express any plans to challenge the decision through an appeal in court.

A separate case similar to the one presented in the Gambian justice system, involving the retrieval of assets like gold, cars, properties, and money, was filed in court in Senegal. According to information provided by the lawyers involved in the case, the matter is currently in the investigative phase. The court is waiting for the completion of the investigation before proceeding with the case. No date has been set for its hearing.