By Rohey Jadama The trial involving Lamin Fatajo, former Project Coordinator of theLamin Fatajo 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 meetings. 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.]]>

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