By Rohey Jadama Justice Emmanuel Amadi of the Special Criminal Division of the Banjul High Court has ordered Sheikh Tijan Sosseh, the former Coordinator of West Africa Agricultural Productivity Project (WAAPP) to open his defence on the 2nd February, 2015. Earlier, before the ruling, the counsel for the defendant Edward Singhatey, informed the court that he was applying to file a “no case to answer” submission on the 11th of February on behalf of his client.Olimatou Danso, the state prosecutor objected to the application, arguing that the law does not allow them to file a “no case to answer” submission but to hear from both the parties involved in the case. Counsel Singhatey replying on a point of law cited section 3 subsection (2) of the Economic Crimes (Specified Offences) Act which states that at the end of the prosecution’s case if there is no sufficient evidence made, the accused shall be acquitted and discharge. The trial judge in his ruling upheld the objection of the prosecution that all the parties should be heard in court. “It is mandatory to hear from both the prosecution and the defence in an economic crime case and therefore I reject the application of the defence to file a ‘no case to answer’ on behalf of the accused. The accused is urged to open his defence”, ruled the trial judge. Subsequently, the case was adjourned to the 24th, 26th February at 1pm respectively for the case of the defence. Meanwhile, Mr. Sosseh is alleged on Count One that while he was employed as the Project Coordinator of the GEAPP, he has failed and/or omitted to fully apply a Euro 5.3 million grant from the World Bank and leaving unspent $76,489.20, which omission was detrimental to the economy of The Gambia and the welfare of the Gambian people. Count two states that while employed in the public service of The Gambia as GEAPP Coordinator, Mr. Sosseh neglected to effectively supervise the construction and rehabilitation of the Seed Multiplication Centre at Chamen in the Gambia. As for Count Three, Mr. Sosseh is accused that while he was employed as the GEAPP Coordinator, he recklessly paid D15,895,125.25 to the general procurement service inspite of the shoddy construction and the rehabilitation works at Chamen Seed Multiplication Centre and thereby caused an economic loss to The Gambia through the Ministry of Agriculture and the GEAPP. ]]>
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