By Rohey Jadama
The trial involving Lamin Fatajo, former Project Coordinator of the
former Rural Finance Project, and Muhammed Lamin Mass, acting Finance
and Administrative Manager of the same project, under the Ministry of
Agriculture, yesterday, 4 March, did not proceed with plea taking,as the third accused person, Madam Ada Gaye, the former Permanent
Secretary Ministry of Agriculture, was not in court.
When the case was called, Borry S. Touray and Lamin S. Camara
announced their appearance for the accused persons, while the state
was represented by Aji Adam Ceesay.
The trial judge Simeon. A. Abi enquired the whereabouts of the third
accused person. Lawyer Camara, in response, told the court that the
matter emanated from the Banjul Magistrate’s Court and that only the
first and second accused persons were involved at the time.
Stat counsel Ceesay told the court that they will serve the third
accused with a notice to appear in court at the next adjourned date.
Subsequently, the trial judge adjourned the matter to the 16th of
March, 2015 at 10am for the third accused to be served with a notice
to appear in court at the next sitting and for the
accused persons to take their plea.
According to the indictment which was not read out in court, Lamin
Fatajo and Lamin Mass, in count one, are alleged that while being
employed as Program Coordinator of Rural Finance Project and acting
Finance/Administrative Manager of the Rural Finance Project abuse
their offices by authorizing and approving the payment of D117,521 as
salary advances for project staff in contravention of the projects
finance and administration procedure manual.
In count two the prosecution alleges that Lamin Fatajo, and Lamin Mass
neglected their duties by failing to stop the payment of D18, 000 as
sitting allowances to some committee members who failed to attend such
Count three states that the accused persons approved the payment of
D18, 000 as sitting allowances to some Committee members set up to
review the union finance promotion center and were not entitle to the
same, which act is detrimental to the economy of the Gambia or to the
people of the Gambia.
Count four states that the accused persons, Lamin Fatajo, Lamin Mass
and Ada Gaye being employed as Program Coordinator of Rural Finance
Project and acting Finance administrative Manager of the Rural Finance
Project and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture
respectively neglected their official duties by authorizing the
payment of $14, 000 to Sonko Fofana without first seeking and
obtaining approval from IFAD.