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toubab1020



12302 Posts

Posted - 04 Jul 2024 :  09:00:09  Show Profile Send toubab1020 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Posted on Foroyaa on July 3, 2024.


Court Convicts Top Immigration Officers of Official Corruption & Theft
July 3, 2024102


By Kemeseng Sanneh (Kexx)


A trial judge in Banjul has convicted and sentenced six Immigration officers of conspiracy, theft, economic crimes and official corruption.

Justice Zainab Jawara-Alami passed her judgement on the case on Tuesday, 25 June 2024.

The case was filed on 9th July 2019. The convicts were Momodou Jammeh, Omar Ceesay, Sarjo Saine, Sulayman Colley, Omar Badjie and Sambujang Badjie.

On count 1, Conspiracy, the Judge sentenced Omar Ceesay, Sarjo Saine, Sulayman Colley, Omar Badjie and Sambujang Badjle to each pay a fine of D100,000 or serve 3 years imprisonment.

On count 2, the offence of Theft, the Judge sentenced Omar Ceesay, Sarjo Saine, Sulayman Colley and Omar Badjie to each pay a fine of D100,000 or serve 5 years imprisonment.

On count 4, Official Corruption, Momodou Jammeh, Omar Ceesay, Sarjo Saine, Sulayman Colley, Omar Badjie and Sambujang were each sentenced to a fine of D100,000 or serve 3 years imprisonment

‘The sentences shall run concurrently,” the Judge said.

For the avoidance of doubt; Momodou Jammeh having been convicted of official corruption is liable to a fine of D100,000 or in default to serve 3 years imprisonment; Omar Ceesay is liable to a fine of D300,000 or in default to 5 years imprisonment;

Sarjo Saine is liable to a fine of D300,000 or in default to 5 years imprisonment; Sulayman Colley is liable to a fine of D300,000 or in default to serve 5 years imprisonment; Omar Badjie is liable to a fine of D300,000 or in default to serve 5 years imprisonment; and Sambujang Badjie is liable to a fine of D200,000 or in default to serve 3 years imprisonment.

“Failure of which shall cause the convict to be taken into custody and commence his sentence of imprisonment,” she said.

She gave each of them 7 days to pay the fine or go to jail.

On the charges of conspiracy to commit a felony (crime) and theft, the six accused persons on or about the 25th of March 2018, at Banjul and other diverse places in the Gambia allegedly conspired among themselves to steal Six Hundred and Two Thousand Dalasi (D602,000) being visa fees paid to the Government of Gambia. Momodou Jammeh was the only one the court exonerated of the charge while the other five (5) accused persons were convicted.

On the second count, Economic Crimes, Sambujang Badjie on or about the 30th March 2018, at Tabokoto and other diverse places in The Gambia allegedly admitted that a public officer caused economic loss to the Government of The Gambia by taking Thirty Thousand Dalasi (D30,000) from visa fees paid to the government of The Gambia. Sambujang Jarju was exonerated of the charge after the prosecution failed to prove the case against him.

On the charge of Official Corruption, the prosecution alleged that Momodou Jammeh, Omar Ceesay, Sarjo Saine, Sulayman Colley, Omar Badjie and Sambujang Badjie on or about the 25th of March 2018, at Banjul and other diverse places in the Gambia as Immigration Officers, and being charged with control of Gambian visa at Banjul seaport corruptly obtained D602,000 for themselves and Abdou A. Faye (being a visa fee paid to the government of Gambia) by omitting to remit the same to the Government. They were all found guilty of the crime by the Court.

In trying to establish the guilt of the accused persons, the prosecution called 5 witnesses and tendered exhibits – the cautionary statements and voluntary statements. All the accused persons testified in the case and tendered exhibits.


The facts of the case can be gleaned from the testimony of prosecution witness 5, Abdou A. Faye, the manager of OBT Shipping Agency Company. He testified that he knew Omar Ceesay and Sarjo Saine. He testified that he became familiar with the accused persons sometime in 2018, when his company had a cruise ship that docked in the port of Banjul. He testified that 434 visas were issued to the tourists for Three Thousand Dalasi (D3,000) each and a total of One Million, Three and Two Thousand Dalasi (D1,302,000) was collected in visa fees by the Immigration Department. He also testified that Sarjo Saine came to his office with Omar Ceesay, the immigration cashier, requesting that he pay Seven Hundred Thousand Dalasi (D700,000) to the Central Bank of The Gambia and Six Hundred and Two Thousand (D602,000) should be paid to them. Abdou A. Faye said he complied with the request, transferred D700,000 to the Central Bank and handed over D602,000 cash to Sarjo Saine and Omar Ceesay. The witness said a few days later, Omar Ceesay came back to his office and handed him a plastic bag containing Three Hundred Thousand Dalasi (D300,000), which he took and put on his desk. When the scandal broke on the news about the immigration department, he was summoned to the Department of Immigration for questioning about the transaction and a day later, he was also questioned by the Gambia Police Force. Faye said he returned the amount as requested and was initially charged. The charges were eventually dropped against him as he had turned state witness.

Prosecution Witness 4 was Yerro Saidy, a police officer. He testified that sometime in 2018, he was instructed by the Crime Management Coordinator, AIG Sowe to lead a panel of investigators. The investigation revealed that a ship had landed at the Banjul Sea Port carrying 724 passengers of whom 432 were required to pay visa fees of D3000 each. A total of D1,302,000 was collected and paid to the shipping agency. He maintained that they found out that Omar Ccesay and Sarjo Saine approached Abdou Faye and asked him to pay D700,000.00 to the Central Bank and the balance of D602,000.00 to be shared among the immigration officers at the Sea Port. He said the D700,000 was paid to the Government Coffers while the D602,000 was given to two immigration officers. He further testified that the two immigration officers went to the Buffer Zone and met Omar Badjie, who took D150,000 from the money and gave Sambujang Badjie D300,000. The remaining balance was shared amongst the other accused persons and some officers at the Sea Port. The monies were recovered during the investigation except the D30,000 which was given to Sambujang Badjie. Officer Saidy also testified that he obtained the cautionary and voluntary Statements of all accused persons except Omar Ceesay.

Prosecution witness 2 was Sarjo Konjira, an Immigration Officer posted at the Immigration Headquarters in Banjul. He testified that he knew Omar Badjie and Sambujang Badjie. He said on the 16th of April 2018, Sambujang Badjie gave him a light blue bag containing money to give to the then Deputy Director of Immigration, Seedy Touray. He said the money was to be returned since he was unable to indicate the source or provide an explanation.

In defence of their case, each of the accused persons testified on their behalf as follows.

Momodou Jammeh testified that he is an Immigration Officer with the rank of Assistant Superintendent posted at the Banjul Sea Port and the second in command at the Sea Port. On the day of the incident, he was at the seaport and checked the tourist boat. 434 tourists were identified to pay each D3000.00 as a visa fee. That they stamped their passports and he left. He stated that he was not present when Omar Ceesay collected the money and did not know the total amount. However, he admitted to collecting D5000 from Sarjo Saine. He testified that he thought it was a tip since it was the norm to receive tips at the Immigration Department from the shipping Agencies. He stated that he found the practice of receiving gifts at the seaports and admitted that D122,000 visa fee money was deposited to the Sea Port.

The 2nd accused person Omar Ceesay, testified that he is an Immigration Officer and a cashier. He said on the day in question, Omar Badjie, who is responsible for all cashiers, went with him to the Cruise Ship for the normal immigration duties of issuing visas to the tourists onboard the ship. He stated that after the issuance of visas, they prepared an invoice to the shipping agency OBT, who paid an amount of D1,302,000. He prepared the paper receipt and the invoice accordingly as the cashier. He also stated that on his way to the shipping agency to receive the money, he called Omar Badjie for instructions and was instructed to tell the shipping agency to pay the money through a cheque. He met with the manager Mr Faye and relayed the instructions. Mr Alieu Faye advised him that he was a junior officer and would not be able to pay the money to him and could only write out cheques in the sum of D100,000.

He testified that he was instructed by Omar Badjie to transfer D700,000.00 to the Central Bank of The Gambia and received the confirmation of the transaction through a receipt. On the next day, he went again to Faye to receive the balance and was advised again by Mr Faye that he was too junior to receive such an amount and advised that there must be a witness to the transaction. He went back to the office and delivered the message to Omar Badjie, who instructed Sarjo Saine to accompany him. He went with Saine to receive the D602,000, which was put in Sarjo Saine’s car. He also testified that he called Omar Badjie to inform him that he had received the money in cash. He said around 7-8 pm Omar Badjie asked him to meet him around the Buffer Zone, Tallinding. He added that he went with Sarjo Saine to meet Omar Badjie at the Buffer Zone. At the Buffer Zone, Omar Ceesay said he handed the D602,000.00 to Omar Badjie. He confirmed that the D602,000.00 were the proceeds from the vessels and official government revenue. He stated that it was the first time he carried government revenue home and he did so under the instructions of Omar Badjie.

Omar Ceesay said after receiving the money, Omar Badjie spoke to Sulayman Colley. He added that after the call, Omar Badjie took D180,000 from the amount and told him the D300,000 was for the shipping agent, D122,000.00 for their office and D30,000.00 for Sambujang Badjie. He added that he came to know Sambujang Badjie during the transaction. He said he met Sulayman Colley at the Sukuta Nema car park and gave him D180,000. He added that Sulayman Colley then instructed him to hand over the share for the office and that of the shipping agent to Sarjo Saine. He testified that Sulayman Colley gave him D300,000 for the shipping agency, and D122,000 for the office while he retained the balance of D30,000. Omar Ceesay said he gave Sarjo Saine the money at Buffer Zone and went home to Brikama empty-handed around 9 pm. He admitted that some days later he received the sum of D3,700 from Sulayman Colley in the presence of Momodou Jammeh and Omar Ceesay. He said he returned the money during the investigation.

Under cross-examination, the 2nd accused person maintains his story and raises it as a defence that he was only working under instructions. He testified that at the training school, he was told to obey commands and that the senior man was always right. He said he did not know the difference between lawful order and unlawful order. He vehemently denied any wrongdoing, but maintained that he worked under the instructions of Sulayman Colley and Omar Badjie.

The 3rd Accused Person Sarjo Saine testified that he is an Immigration Officer with the rank of Inspector. He was posted at the Sea Port for almost 5 years and was responsible for stamping passports with exit and entry visas.

In March 2018, a team went on Board a cruise ship led by Momodou Jammeh and carried out all the necessary immigration formalities, the cashier confirmed the visas and reported directly to the Commissioner of Statistics, who was Omar Badjie. He testified that after doing all the necessary duties on board, they went back to the office and the shipping agent sent someone to the office to say that he could not pay D602,000 to the cashier and needed a witness to be present. He stated that he was instructed by the second in command to go and witness the payment. He said he went with Omar Ceesay to OBT and witnessed Abdou A. Faye pay D602,000.00 to the cashier (Omar Ceesay) and an official receipt was given to him.

He also testified that the money was not handed over to him as he is not a cashier; he was simply there to witness the payment and went back to the seaport immigration. He does not know what happened to the money.

He stated that around 4 pm when going home he gave Omar Ceesay a lift to Buffer zone because he was called by Omar Badjie to meet him at his compound. He stated that he dropped him off at the Buffer Zone and left for home. Around 7 pm, he was called by the Commander of the Seaport, Omar Badjie, who instructed him to go to the Buffer Zone and meet Omar Ceesay. He testified that he found Omar Ceesay standing around the petrol station and he gave him 2 plastic bags. One contained D122,000 and the other one contained D300,000.00. The D122,000.00 was to be given to Sulayman Colley and the D300,000.00 to the shipping agent, Abdou A. Faye The next morning, he handed over the D122,000.00 to Sulayman Colley and gave the D300,000 to Omar Badjie and did not ask what the money was for.

He further testified that Sulayman Colley called the staff on duty and told them that Omar Badjie gave them the money to share. At the said briefing, he told them that all 33 officers could share the money. He claimed that he did not know why they were sharing the money as this was the first time this had happened. After the briefing, he was instructed by Sulayman Colley to share the cash between the 33 immigration personnel, which he did. All junior officers received D3,700 and Sulayman Colley received D6,000.

The following day, he said Sulayman Colley was called to the Immigration Headquarters and upon his return, he asked all of them to return the money as that was the order issued. He added all of them returned the money to Omar Ceesay, the cashier. Under cross-examination, admitted that he collected D122,000, which was later shared by the immigration officers at the seaport based on instruction from his superiors.

The 4th accused person Sulayman Colley testified that he is a Chief Superintendent of Immigration. He testified that he received a call on Thursday, 29th March 2018 at home around 8 pm from Omar Badjie with the information that the money meant for Sambujang Badjie was given to him. A few minutes later, Omar Ceesay called him and asked him to meet him at Sukuta Nema Garage behind the market.

The 4th accused person also stated that he met Omar Ceesay who had on him 3 plastic bags of money. One of the bags contained D30,000, which was supposed to be handed to Sambujang Badjie. The other 2 bags would be given to Sarjo Saine, who was supposed to take the money to the office.

He testified that he gave Sambujang Badjie the money at the Trust Bank in Lamin around 9 pm. He admitted that he received D60,000 from Sarjo Saine the following day at their office. He added all of the seven (7) officers at the seaport together with the 33 juniors received their share of the money.

“The following day he returned the money and I asked everyone to return their money to the 3rd accused that had shared the money,” he said.


He said this was when he realised that the money was payments for visa fees. Under cross-examination, he admitted that he was called by Omar Badjie to give money to Sambujang Badjie and he did not question the source of the money as he believed that the D6,000 he received was allowance that they normally received for the escort of stowaways. He stated that he could only ask his juniors to return the money they received, but could not have asked Omar Badjie and Sambujang Badjie to return the money as they were his seniors.



Omar Badjie, the fifth accused person, stated that he is an Immigration Officer with the rank of Deputy Commissioner and posted at the Headquarters as Commissioner in charge of Statistics. He is responsible for declaring the General Monthly Statistics report and all financial reports from various cashiers across the country and the number of deportees from abroad among others.


He testified that Omar Ceesay, the cashier, was not directly answerable to him as there was a central cashier commissioner, Baba Sanyang. He added that it was not his responsibility to give direct commands to Omar Ceesay. He stated that he only interacts with Omar Ceesay after the lodgement/ payment is made at the Central Bank for the report.


He also testified that he came to know about this transaction on Thursday, 9 March 2018 at 8 pm, when he received a call from Omar Ceesay requesting to meet him at the Buffer Zone. During the discussions, he stated that he was informed that they had received gifts to share from the shipping agent as a token of appreciation. Omar Badjie stated that he was handed a plastic bag of D150,000.00 to be shared in the following way – Seedy M.Touray, the Deputy Director General to receive D100,000 and D50,000.00 for his office.


He also had a separate plastic bag of D152,000, which was meant for their office out of which D30,000.00 was to be given to their commissioner, Sambujang Badjie. He explained that Omar Ceesay wanted to give him the D30,000 for Sambujang Badjie, but he declined to receive it. Omar Badjie said he called Sulayman Colley and told him to receive the money for Sambujang Badjie because they work together.


Omar Badjie said the transactions occurred during a long weekend as it was Good Friday and Easter Monday, which were public holidays. He added that on 3 April 2018, he informed the Deputy Director General about the issue at hand and that his share was with him.


Sambujang Badjie is the commissioner for the Banjul Region. He testified that in 2018, it was alleged that he had received D30,000 from Sulayman Colley, which were proceeds of visa fees. He denied the allegation as being false. He testified that he was not responsible for revenue and only came to find out about the incident one week later.


He stated that on 2 April 2018, he was called by the Deputy Director, Seedy M. Touray to his office who informed him of a visa transaction that happened in his region and only half of the money collected was paid to the Government. He stated that this was news to him and he proceeded to ask the commander of the seaport, Sulayman Colley,

who told him that a vessel had anchored on 25 March 2018. He said he did not know Omar Badjie before meeting him at the police station.

Momodou Jammeh is found guilty of the offence of official corruption; Omar Ceesay is found guilty of all the offences charged being theft, conspiracy and official corruption; Sarjo Saine is found guilty of all the offences charged being theft, conspiracy and official corruption; Sulayman Colley is found guilty of all the offences charged being theft, conspiracy and official corruption; Omar Badjie is found guilty of all the offences charged being theft, conspiracy and official corruption; and

Sambujang Badijie is found guilty of the offence of conspiracy and cheating.


"Simple is good" & I strongly dislike politics. You cannot defend the indefensible.

Momodou



Denmark
11563 Posts

Posted - 05 Jul 2024 :  09:24:23  Show Profile Send Momodou a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Justice Alami Makes Critical Comment Regarding Unlawful Order Given By Seniors Officers.

By Kexx News


Justice Zainab Jawara-Alami of the Banjul High Court has responded to the Immigration personnel she convicted of conspiracy, theft and official corruption.

The officers convicted and sentenced were Assistant Superintendent Momodou Jammeh, Omar Ceesay (cashier), Inspector Sarjo Saine, Chief Superintendent Sulayman Colley, Deputy Commissioner Omar Badjie, Commissioner for Banjul Sambujang Badjie.

Sambujang Badjie was exonerated of the Economic Crimes charge. Momodou Jammeh was freed from the theft charge.

Justice Zainab Jawara-Alami reacted to the claims by Omar Ceesay, the 2nd accused person and Sarjo Saine, the third accused person. The two immigration personnel said they were acting under the instructions of their superiors and it is their orientation that they should not disobey orders of their seniors.

Justice Zainab Jawara-Alami in her judgement took time to address that claim.

“I cannot conclude my sentencing without touching on this pertinent issue that ran throughout the trial. It is of great concern to me that the 2nd and 3rd accused who were junior officers testified at length that they simply followed instructions as they did not know the difference between a lawful order and an unlawful order.

I have dilated on this at length in my judgement - and have shown that "In raising a defence of superior orders, the primary focus is on the order itself.” The fact that an accused person acted pursuant to an order of a Government order or a superior shall not relieve him of criminal responsibility but may be considered in mitigation of punishment if the Court determines that justice so requires and that is what I have considered in not imposing a custodial sentence.

It is therefore incumbent upon The Government of The Gambia in its security sector where orders are given and obeyed to ensure that officers receive adequate training in training school to understand the difference between a lawful and an unlawful order.”

Follow Everyone #courtreporting #factualnews #thenationeye

Source: FB

A clear conscience fears no accusation - proverb from Sierra Leone
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toubab1020



12302 Posts

Posted - 05 Jul 2024 :  16:58:35  Show Profile Send toubab1020 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Justice Zainab Jawara-Alam and her Judgement. highlights a "pertinent issue "

============================

“I cannot conclude my sentencing without touching on this pertinent issue that ran throughout the trial. It is of great concern to me that the 2nd and 3rd accused who were junior officers testified at length that they simply followed instructions as they did not know the difference between a lawful order and an unlawful order.

I have dilated on this at length in my judgement - and have shown that "In raising a defence of superior orders, the primary focus is on the order itself.” The fact that an accused person acted pursuant to an order of a Government order or a superior shall not relieve him of criminal responsibility but may be considered in mitigation of punishment if the Court determines that justice so requires and that is what I have considered in not imposing a custodial sentence.

It is therefore incumbent upon The Government of The Gambia in its security sector where orders are given and obeyed to ensure that officers receive adequate training in training school to understand the difference between a lawful and an unlawful order.”


Dear Reader, AND THE RESONSBlE MINISTER Please Note the final paragraph above which MUST be addressed without delay.

"Simple is good" & I strongly dislike politics. You cannot defend the indefensible.

Edited by - toubab1020 on 05 Jul 2024 17:02:37
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