(JollofNews) – A former head of the Gambia’s civil service who is languishing in detention at the Mile Two central prisons has made an application for bail at the country’s special criminal court.
Momodou Sabally, 40, who was secretary general, head of civil service and presidential affairs minister and was also the right-hand man of President Yahya Jammeh and darling of the Gambian regime, was arrested in July this year and is yet to be granted bail.
The father of four is currently standing trial for economic crime, abuse of office, negligence and giving false information.
In his application, Mr Sabally’s lawyer Antouman Gaye, reminded the court that his client has been in detention for four months and ten days.
He added: “He [Sabally] was detained without charge at the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) headquarters in Banjul from 7th July to 10th August 2014. He was later charged and brought to court on 11th August 2014 but was ordered to be remanded under the custody of the NIA until 14th October 2014 by a former high court judge [Justice Mikailu].
Lawyer Gaye argued that when a court adjourns a case in criminal matters and the accused person is on bail, the country’s criminal procedure code provides a 14-days adjournment period, but if the accused is in custody the provision says that a period of 7-days adjournment be given.
“My Lord, nothing is taken for granted in criminal matters,” Lawyer Gaye said. “But in determining whether to grant bail, it is a principle for the court to look at the offence under which the accused is charged; whether he will abscond when granted bail; whether he is likely to commit other offence (s) while on bail; whether he will interfere with witnesses and whether he will interfere with the course of justice.”
Lawyer Gaye reminded the court that Mr Sabally is not charged with any capital offence and his continuous detention erodes the constitutional guarantee of innocent until proven guilty and tantamount to a denial of justice.
He informed the court that Mr Sabaly is a family man with four children and the bread winner of an extended family. He appealed to the court to exercise its discretion by granting Mr Sabally bail under reasonable conditions.
The application is opposed by the state which has expressed fears that Mr Sabally would abscond like other former senior government officials.
According to the director of Public Prosecution, SH Barkhum, the state is still investigating the activities of Mr Sabally in government and are considering whether to slap him with additional charges.
The case continues.