By Mariama Marong
On the 17 November, 2021, the trial of Bamba Banja, former fisheries’ permanent secretary, who has charged with official corruption and economic crimes by the State, continued.
Mr. Banja is charged with three counts of:
- economic crimes contrary to Section 5(f) of the Economic Crimes Act (specified offence) Act Vol. 11 Cop 13: 07 revised laws of the Gambia;
- official corruption contrary to Section 86(a) of the Criminal Code Vol. 111Cop 10:01 revised laws of the Gambia,
- public Officers recovery property to show favor contrary to Section 85 of the Criminal Code Vol. 111Cop 10:01 revised laws of the Gambia.
According to the particulars of offence, Mr. Bamba Banja on the 27September, 2018 at Batokunku Village in the West Coast Region of the Gambia, and under the jurisdiction of the Court, is charged for receiving money from the proprietor of Golden Lead Company Limited for two of their vessels engaged in illicit fishing from detention, which is detrimental to the economy and welfare of the people of the Gambia. Thus, he committed an offence; adding that Mr. Banja engaged in corrupt practice by receiving money from the proprietor of Golden Lead Company Limited in order to offer them favour by releasing their detained fishing vessel and thereby committed an offence.
Lawyers S. L. Jobarteh and L. S. Ceesay appeared for the State, whilst lawyer A. Fatty appeared for the accused person (Bamba Banja)
The State produced Essa Sowe, a police officer and investigator with the fraud squad unit of the Gambia Police Force, as witness.
According to PW 2, a three member panel was constituted to investigate the above issue and found out that a call was made on the 27 September, 2021 between the accused person and the proprietor of Golden Lead Company Limited, which went viral and was recovered.
However, before the case could continue further, it was adjourned to the 24th November, 2021 at 10am for the audio to be played in Court.
The case was presided over by Justice B. A. Bakre of the High Court Annex in Banjul.