Friday, June 24, 2011
The defense counsel for former Gambian communication minister Dr Amadou Scattred Janneh has told the Special Criminal Division at the High Court in Banjul that the indictments before the Banjul Magistrates’ Courts are not the same in the High Court.
“It means there is no charge against the accused as of now,” defense counsel Camara added.
The court also ordered the state prosecution to file formal charges against Dr. Amadou Scattered Janneh and three others who were earlier charged with treason, conspiracy and sedition at the lower court last week.
His lawyer Lamin S Camara also made it known to the Special Criminal Division of the High Court yesterday that he has no access to his client but was overruled by the judge after he urged him to grant him access.
“The court cannot make an order for you to have access to your client,” the judge stated.
The presiding judge, Justice Ikpala ordered the prosecution to recover the case file and bring formal charge against the accused persons.
“It is their right to know what they have been charged with,” he said.
He made this statement when the Director of Public Prosecution, Abdullahi Mikalive informed the court that he is yet to receive the case file from the police commissioner and that the case file will only be ready in two weeks time, while craving the court to adjourn the case.
With fastened shackles around their legs and their hands cuffed at their backs, Janneh and other accused persons took more than five minutes to carefully lame to the Special Criminal Division packed with their loved ones and well wishers.
The former communication minister was charged with three others for treason, conspiracy and sedition at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court. The others accused persons are Michel C. Ucheh Thomas, Modou Keita and Ebrima Jallow.
They were accused of distributing T-Shirts bearing ‘Coalition for Change the Gambia, End to Dictatorship Now’ with intent to usurp the executive powers of the state but could not take their plea before it was transferred to the High Court.
Janneh is the CEO and sole proprietor of Commit Enterprises a leading IT outfit in The Gambia.
But Dr Janneh served as Information Minister for over a year under the Jammeh administration following his return from U.S. where he studied journalism and political science and later taught for over ten years as assistant professor, African and African-American Studies University of Tennessee, U.S.
A community development activist, Mr Janneh has for many years spearheaded and financed development activities in his hometown of Gunjur. It is not clear when the High Court will preside over the case.
The case is adjourned till 5 June.
Author: Binta A Bah, Baba Sillah and Saikou Ceesay