By Sainey M.K. Marenah, Shout-Africa.com Gambia Bureau Chief in Banjul – After years of a legal battle, vacation judge Emmanuel Nkea of the high court in Banjul Tuesday discharged two former judges, an ex-Judicial Secretary and ex-Bailiff of the high court.
They were facing charges ranging from neglect of official duty, to stealing by public officer, aiding and abetting a public officer to steal, economic crimes and forgery.
Justice Ngui Mboob Janneh, Justice Amina Saho Ceesay, both former high court judges; Haruna Jaiteh, ex-Judicial Secretary and Alhagie LS Sonko ex-bailiff of the high court were freed following the filing of a Nolle prosequi by the state through the Director of Public Prosecutions, Mikailu Abdullahi, before Justice Emmanuel Nkea.
The judge in discharging the ex-judicial officials stated: “upon listening to the leaned Director of Public Prosecutions and upon a careful perusal of the Nolle prosequi filed by the state, I am satisfied of the intention of the state to discontinue this matter.”
Justice Nkea further ordered that the accused persons were therein accordingly discharged, that the order be carried out and that there shall be no further order.
It would be recalled that three senior judicial officials were first arraigned on 2nd December 2009 before Magistrate Emmanuel Nkea (now a high court judge) of the Banjul Magistrates’ Court, charged with stealing by clerk or servant.
Justice Amina Saho-Ceesay, who was granted bail in the sum of D4 million, was alleged to have stolen D2 million (two million dalasi) and US$1000 between the years 2005 and 2009, at the Sheriff’s Division of the High Court.
Justice Ngui Mboob-Janneh was accused of stealing D803,000 and 900 pound sterling between the years 2005 and 2009.
Haruna Jaiteh, the ex-Judicial Secretary, was alleged to have stolen D1,017,000 between the year 2005 and 2009, at the Sheriff’s Division. He was granted bail in the sum of D500,000 with two Gambian sureties, who must sign a bail bond of D500,000 each and one of whom should be in possession of a landed property within the Greater Banjul Area.
For Alhagie ML Sonko, he was accused of stealing D1,215,000 and 900 pound sterling, being the property of the Gambia government between the years 2005 to 2009, at the Sheriff’s Division of the high court.
Sonko was granted a court bail in the sum of D2 million (two millions Dalasi) with two Gambian sureties, all of whom must have a landed property within the Greater Banjul Area. He was also ordered to deposit his travel documents with the court.
Since the case started in December 2009, the state only managed to call two prosecution witnesses, namely John Belford, who is the current Judicial Secretary and one Pa Modou Njie, former assistant bailiff of the High Court. In one of his testimonies before the court, Belford told the court that a team was formed to look into the Sheriff’s Division, and to come up with a report.
Many judges have also presided over the trial including, the former high court judge Moses Richards; Justice Lamin Jobarteh; and finally Justice Nkea who discharged them.
The accused persons who were discharged in absentia were all served with the order of the court, dated 16th August 2011.
When contacted, ex-Judicial Secretary Haruna Jaiteh confirmed the development to this paper. “My title deed has been returned to me; and I am in the process of getting my passport back,” Jaiteh said.