By Rohey Jadama Lamin Fatajo, former Project Coordinator of theLamin Fatajo former Rural Finance Project, Muhammed Lamin Mass, acting Finance and Administrative Manager of the same project, and Madam Ada Gaye, Permanent Secretary  of the ministry of Agriculture , yesterday, 26 March, 2015 pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against them before Simeon A. Abi of the Banjul High Court.Hadi Saleh Barkum, the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) and A. Adeyemi represented the state, while Borry S. Touray announced his appearance for the 1st and 2nd accused persons and Sheriff M. Tambedou represented the 3rd accused person. After taking their plea, the DPP applied for the case to be adjourned for hearing and for the accused persons to be remanded. Lawyer Tambedou told the court that the 3rd accused person was granted bail at the lower court on the 14th October, 2014 and which is a sister case to this. “I wish to apply for your lordship to allow the 3rd accused to remain in her previous bail pending further bail application,” said Tambedou. DPP Barkum argued that the two cases are different and that the matter was taken from the Banjul Magistrates’ Court and transferred to the high court. In his ruling, the trial judge said all the records before him indicate that all the accused persons were granted bail at the lower court. “I will allow them to continue with that bail pending the application of their bail,” ruled the trial judge. The case was adjourned to 31st of March at 2 pm for mention. Count one alleges that Lamin Fatajo and Lamin Mass while being employed as Program Coordinator of Rural Finance Project and acting Finance/Administrative Manager of the Rural Finance Project respectively abused 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, Mr. Fatajo, and Mr. Mass are alleged to have neglected their duties by failing to stop the payment of D18, 000 as sitting allowances to some committee members who failed to attend meetings. Count three states that the first and second 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 entitled to the same and which act is said to be detrimental to the economy or people of the Gambia. The fourth count alleges that Mr. Fatajo, Mr. Mass and Madame Gaye being employed as Program Coordinator of Rural Finance Project, acting Finance administrative Manager of the Rural Finance Project and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, respectively, have 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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