By Rohey Jadama
Justice Eunice O. Dada of the Banjul High Court has yesterday 20 October, 2016 acquitted and discharged Mr. Ousamn Badjie, former Gambian Ambassador to France and erstwhile Minister of Works, Construction and Infrastructure, on all two counts of Economic Crime (Specified Offences) and three counts of neglect of official duty.
The state was represented by A.M. Yusuf whilst Lamin S. Camara and A. Fatty appeared for Ousman Badjie.
Delivering her judgment, Justice Dada, after reading the particulars of offence, said the question is whether Ousman Badjie intentionally commits the offence which causes economic loss to the Gambia Government. She said the prosecution called three witnesses and it is clear that the duty of the head of the mission is the overall responsibility of the mission.
She noted that the witnesses did not show any responsibility of the accused attached to the revenue that cause economic loss to the Government of the Gambia. She said the question is whether the prosecution witnesses and the documents tendered in court by the prosecution are sufficient enough to warrant conviction. She said it is clear that he (Ousman Badjie) is presumed to be wrongly charged and proving the alleged charge lies on the prosecution.
Justice Dada said she is of the view that from the evidence in this court the accused person did not commit the crime. She said the accused before the court is not Mrs. Adele Sock and it is not denied that a fraud is committed in the Gambian Embassy in France. She said no evidence is shown that Mrs. Sock has been charged or even brought to court as a witness.
“I am of the view that the Prosecution did not prove the case as required by the law. I see it as holding the accused liable for the offence committed by his subordinate. The accused is not found guilty of the five counts and he is accordingly acquitted and discharged,” said Justice Dada.
However, the state counsel Yusuf said the state intends to appeal against the Judgment.
Defence Camara said it is his submission that Ousman Badjie should be admitted on bail now that there is no pending charge against him. He said there is no fear that he may abscond because he has presented himself for trial for two years and therefore urged the court to invoke section 99 subsection 2 of Criminal Procedure Code(CPC).
The trial judge grants him bail in the sum of D10 million with two Gambian sureties.