Momodou Sabally(JollofNews) – State prosecutors in the Gambia have filed criminal charges against the country’s former Secretary General and minister of Presidential Affairs

who have been languishing in custody since his arrest last month by the feared Gambian National Intelligence Agency (NIA).

Momodou Sabally, who was the right-hand man of President Yahya Jammeh and darling of the Gambian regime, was yesterday charged at the High Court in Banjul with economic crime and abuse of office.

Prosecutors said while serving as Secretary General, Mr Sabally in flagrant abuse of his office last May caused the Gambia Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation (SSHFC) to lose D402, 500 by unduly influencing it to fund a Youth Career Development Programme without recourse to due process.

The former Secretary-General who looked frail and exhausted rejected the charges and pleaded with the court to grant him bail.

He reminded the court of his long record and various positions of trust he have occupied in the public service.    

“I have been in detention for five weeks and I have cooperated with the investigators,” he said.Sabally

Mr Sabally added: “Although the investigations are ongoing, I have a wife and children that I have not seen since my arrest. I have served as an example to younger Gambians by serving my country. I have ignored foreign appointments with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank (WB) and with this background; I do not see any reason why the prosecution should doubt my integrity.”

The bail application was however opposed by the state on the grounds that it is conducting further investigations into the activities of the former Secretary General.

This was upheld by the presiding judge, Justice Makailu Abdullah, who ordered him to be kept at the NIA headquarters until 14th October 2014.

A former, director of Budget at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, Momodou Sabally entered into President Yahya Jammeh’s cabinet in June 2013.

He succeeded Dr Njogu Bah who was moved to the ministry of Petroleum before being detained incommunicado for many weeks by the NIA and subsequently jailed for economic crimes and abuse of office.

Like his predecessor, Sabally was on 1 July 2014 unceremoniously moved to the Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology before being arrested and detained incommunicado at the NIA headquarters.