Embattled Petroleum Director Momodou Badjie’s bail petition rubbished

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By Alhagie Jobe

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The bail petition filed on behalf of embattled petroleum director Momodou Badjie’s has been rubbished by the vacation High Court judge on Tuesday, saying it “lacks merit.”

 

The decision by Justice Ogar Edward Eneji’s was contained in a ruling he delivered on Badjie’s bail application on Tuesday which was filed by his defence counsel, Lawyer LS Camara and responded to by State Counsel A Mendy.

 

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Badjie who was the managing director of the government’s petroleum firm, The Gambia National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) has been previously denied bail by two other courts and committed to custody at the State Central prison of Mile II. He is among dozens of senior government officials arrested and accused by the Jammeh administration of been involved in one of the most serious economic crimes in government during the past twenty-two years of the Second Republic.

 

Among others involved in the same case are Nuha Touray, former Secretary to Cabinet at the Office of the President, Fafa Sanyang, former Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum, Seedy Kanyi, former general manager of Gambia Transport Service Corporation, Muntaga Sallah, former permanent secretary, Ministry of Petroleum, and former oil minister Sira Wally Ndow.

 

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Justice Eneji justified his decision based on the argument by state counsel that there is an ongoing state investigation into the matter and that the same court has earlier rejected same bailed application and the High Court cannot review its own decision and cannot sit on its own appeal case.

 

“I have reviewed the contents of the bail application, accompanied with supporting affidavits from both the applicants and the respondent state counsel. By order of an originating summon, dated 10th August 2016, the applicant filed bail application in court on grounds that the offence charged is bailable and urged the court to grant it pending the trial. The applicant sought among others that they be granted bail with or without condition, saying the application was supported by 34-paragraph affidavit sworn to by one Kebba Sanneh. The state respondent objected to the application with a four-paragraph affidavit, sworn to by one Mariama Jallow, a legal clerk at the Attorney General’s Chamber. The respondent premised his objection on the grounds that the matter is still under investigation and that the accused is an influential person who once granted bail may interfere with witnesses in the case” he narrated in court.

 

The judge acknowledged the legal provision on presumption of innocence of an accused person until proven guilty which he said Section 19 of the Constitution of The Gambia affirmed but however raised issues with such decisions made by the High Court and whether the said High Court can review its own decision or can sit on its own appeal case as the bail application before the court was the same as the one decided by Justice Otaba of the same court.

 

Justice Eneji said the only alternative for the applicant is to either apply for review of the previous High Court decision made by the cited judge or appeal against it at the Gambia Court of Appeal. He then dismissed the bail application saying the High Court cannot review its own decision and cannot sit on its own appeal case.

 

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