Friday, April 3, 2020

‘No Fiat No Case’ – Court Strikes Out Case For Lack of Merit


By Yankuba Jallow

A trial magistrate has on Tuesday struck out a criminal case involving a man who was facing a charge of fraudulent conversion of property.

The ruling came about when Lawyer Ibrahim Jallow for the accused person made a preliminary objection that the charge is incompetent and lacks merit in law because the prosecution has failed to provide a sanction from the office of the Attorney General. Counsel Jallow indicated that the accused is charged with ‘trustees fraudulently disposing of trust property’ which requires that a fiat must be obtained before a prosecution commences.

“The law provides that no prosecution shall be commenced without the sanction of the Attorney General and the prosecution has not provided any fiat from the Attorney General,” Lawyer Jallow submitted.

Jallow put forward that before the trial commence, a fiat should be obtained and therefore, he urged the court to dismiss the case.

Inspector A. Colley for the Inspector General of Police said they have made an application for a fiat from the office of the Attorney General. He added that in the previous sittings, they have made an application before the court notifying it about it.

Magistrate F. Darboe in her ruling before a crowded courtroom said the provision of the criminal code which Counsel Jallow was relying on is clear and unambiguous. She added the prosecution has no idea as to whether they will get the fiat or not and therefore, dismissed the case and acquitted the accused person of the charge.

In another case, a sales agent of ICA Group Holland is facing a theft charge for unauthorized selling of 3200 PE 32 pipes. The General Manager of the company said the accused person is the custodian of the keys to the store where the pipes were kept by virtue of his position at the company. The company manager said they do procurement of materials including pipes.

He said when he realized that the pipes were not at the store; he called the accused person using his mobile phone and asked him about the whereabouts of the missing pipes. He said the accused person retorted that he has sold the pipes to a Guinean. The General Manager said he asked the accused to bring the pipes to supply his client NAWEC.

He said the accused person sold the pipes which were supposed to be delivered to NAWEC without his authority. He said he entered into a sales agreement with NAWEC but the deal was not successful because it was labelled a bad transaction. He indicated that the pipes cost D6600 but the accused person sold the pipes at D11,000. He averred that the pipes bear the name of his company.

He said the police confiscated the pipes from a shop in Serrekunda and the pipes were returned to the company although NAWEC has decided not to purchase them because the police are investigating them.

The invoice prepared by the General Manager that he was supposed to deliver to NAWEC was rejected by the court when it was tendered by the prosecution as an exhibit to support their case. This came about when the accused person said the invoice was not the usual invoice that the company issues to people. He added that he still has the invoice, debit and sales book with him. The trial magistrate indicated that the prosecution has failed to lay proper foundation as required by law before tendering the document and therefore rejected it.

The matter was adjourned to Monday, 23rd September 2019 at 9 am for cross-examination.

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