By Mamadou Dem
Yusupha Nyassi of Rural Finance Project (RFP) on Tuesday 15th
September, 2015 appeared before Magistrate Abdoulie Fatty of the lower
court in Banjul charged with a single count of Economic Crime contrary
to section 5 (f) of the Economic Crimes (Specified Offences) Act.
The particulars of offence alleged that the aforesaid person sometime
in 2011 to 2013, in Banjul and diverse places in the Republic of The
Gambia, being an employee of the Rural Finance Project (RFP) allocated
himself and benefited from a monthly fuel allowance amounting to six
hundred and seventy two thousand five hundred dalasis (672,500.00)
without approval from the Project Steering Committee causing economic
loss to the Government of the Gambia, thereby committed an offence.
Mr. Nyassi pleaded not guilty as charged and was released on bail in
the sum of one million dalasis with two Gambian sureties to enter into
recognisance of the said sum.
Prior to granting the accused bail, police prosecutor PC 1519 Kora
applied under section 62 Sub (1) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC)
for the matter to be transferred to the Special Criminal Division of
the High Court. He said the charge for which the accused is standing
trial is a capital offence and the lower court lacks jurisdiction
to hear the case.
“Meanwhile we are praying for the accused to be remanded in custody at
the State’s Central Prison (Mile II) pending his appearance at the High
Court,” he submitted.
PC Kora further told the court that the matter is still under
investigation and there is likelihood for the accused to jump bail.
Delivering the ruling, Magistrate Fatty stated that he agreed with the
prosecution that the court lacks jurisdiction to try the case pursuant
to section 62 (1) of the CPC. He said bearing in mind section 9 of the
Economic Crime (Specified Offences) Act 1994 the case is transferred
to the high court which has proper jurisdiction to try the case.
“In respect to the issue of bail, I have noted the objection raised by
the prosecution to support the position of not granting the accused
bail, I have also averred my mind to both section 99 of the CPC and
section 8 (1) (a) of the Economic Crime (Specified Offences) Act 1994
which provide that the court may in the exercise of its discretionary
powers grant an accused bail if the surety and the accused provide
such security that the court deems fit,” said the presiding
The trial Magistrate further conditioned the accused’s sureties to
deposit their national identity cards with the court’s registrar and
that one or more of the sureties should be the legal and equitable owner or
proprietor of a piece of land or property situated in the jurisdiction
of Banjul, Kanifing Municipality or West Coast Region but not beyond
Brikama and for such surety to provide his or her title deeds as
security not less than the amount in the recognizance.
“The accused must not either directly or indirectly contact any
relevant person or witness closely associated with the investigations
or prosecution of this case. The accused should report to Banjul
police station every Monday morning and to surrender his ID card and
Passport to the police,” Magistrate Fatty declared.