By Mamadou Dem
Mr. Edrissa Jobe, the proprietor of Elton and Total fuel companies in the Gambia, who also doubles as Chairman of First International Bank (FIB), and Mrs. Sirra Wally Ndow Njie, the former Deputy Minister of Petroleum, yesterday, Monday, 27th of June 2016, through their attorney, Ida Drammeh, filed a ‘notice of discontinuance’ and thereby urging the court to dismiss their earlier claim for both accused persons to be released unconditionally or appear before a court of law.
Barrister Drammeh on the 23rd of this month filed a motion at the high court in Banjul urging the court to make an order for the applicants be released unconditionally or upon their entering into recognisance with or without sureties, conditioned for their appearances before any court in which any charge pending against them is to be heard.
Lawyer Drammeh also requested for an order for her clients to be admitted to bail pending the hearing and determination of any such charge or other orders which the court deems fit.
When the case of Mr. Jobe and Mrs. Ndow – Njai was called before Justice O. Ottaba of the Criminal Division of the high court, barrister Mary Samba, who held brief for Lawyer Drammeh, submitted that they have filed a ‘notice of discontinuance’ to urge the court to take notice that the above named applicants intend to discontinue and are therefore applying for the striking out of the motion dated the 23rd June, 2016.
The application was not opposed by the state. Consequently, the trial judge upheld the defence’s application and accordingly struck out the said motion.
Readers would recall that ten senior government officials and businesspersons namely Muntaga Sallah, former Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum, Mrs. Sirra Wally Ndow – Njie, former Deputy Minister of Petroleum and former Deputy Minister of Tourism and Culture at the time of her arrest, Cherno Marena, former Solicitor General and Legal Secretary, Mr. Nuha Touray, Cabinet Secretary, Fafa Sanyang, Petroleum Commissioner, Modou Badjie, Managing Director of Gambia National Petroleum Company (GNPC), Edrissa Jobe, CEO Elton Oil Company/Total filling stations, Louise Moses Mendy, Office of the President, Momodou Taal and Seedy Kanyi on the 22nd of June, 2016, appeared before the lower court in Banjul charged with single count of economic crime contrary to section 5 (f) of the Economic Crime (Specified Offences) Act Cap 13:07 Vol III Revised laws of The Gambia 2009.
The particulars of offence allege that the ten accused persons between the year 2015 and 2016 respectively in the city of Banjul, Republic of The Gambia, intentionally did an act which shows to be detrimental to the economy of the Gambia and thereby committed an offence.
The accused persons could not take their plea on jurisdictional ground as the lower court lacks the jurisdiction to try economic crime related offences.
Principal Magistrate Omar Cham then referred the matter to the high court which has the proper jurisdiction to try the case. However, he ordered for the accused persons to remain in custody pending their appearances at the superior court.