Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The criminal case of Sheikh Tejan Sosseh is a farce

Justice Emmanuel Amadi
The case against Sheikh Tejan Sosseh was again adjourned for the umpteenth time yesterday because, according to news reports, he was stuck in traffic.

Justice Amadi, apparently sensing mischief on the part of the prosecution, fined the witness D2,000 ($50) for wasting, yet again, the time of the court.

Dragging frivolous courts cases for months and sometimes, years, is one of the regime's favorite methods of abusing the human rights of the accused.

Sheikh Tejan Sosseh is the poster child of everything wrong with the Jammeh dictatorship, including a judiciary that has increasingly been discredited to the point that its members have become pariahs in the eyes of the international legal community.  The record of those judges and magistrates, including Ministers of Justice and Attorney Generals, despite doing the bidding of the dictatorship by honoring instructions of Yaya Jammeh have not been impressive.  As we speak, a former Attorney General and Justice Minister and a former Chief Justice are currently in jail for an assortment of reasons ranging from corruption, economic crime to lying to a public officer.  Another former Acting Supreme Court Chief Justice is a fugitive from the law, and hiding somewhere in Cameroon.

The case before Justice Emmanuel Amadi of Sheihk Tejan Sosseh vs the government of the Gambia is part of the regime's determined and concerted effort to persecute through prosecution Agriculture Ministry staff for contributing, according to the Gambian dictator's own twisted, to the impending failure of achieving rice self-sufficiency in 2016 for a policy objective - without the appropriately-designed policy - that was announced only a few month ago.

Tejan Sosseh is being taken to court because he implimented an EU-grant funded and World Bank-administered project so well that at the end of ti all be realized a balance that he surrendered to the granter through the World Bank.  The total amount of the grant was $7.3 million, and at the end of the project $67,489 was the unspent balance which Mr. Sosseh as Project Manager rightly surrendered to the World Bank who would have returned the same said amount to the EU account.

Because he returned the unspent amount, it was deemed to be "detrimental to the economy of The Gambia and the welfare of the Gambian people."  Remember, it was the same Gambian dictator who famously said recently that the EU's development assistance to the Gambia was "chicken change", meaning inconsequential. Yet, here he is trying to sent an innocent Gambian to jail for returning what, in international financial circles, is really 'chicken change'.

In addition to this frivolous charge, Mr. Sosseh is also being accused of shoddy construction works, the supervision of which must be the function of a construction engineer, and not the project manager.  All construction works come with what is known as a guarantee period of a fixed period during when all deficiencies are to be fixed at the contractors expense.

Mr. Sosseh is being finally charged with the catch-all 'economic crime' for the so-called loss of $67,489 which was surrender to the European Union Find.

Who is the contractor for the "rehabilitation and construction of the Seed Multiplication Center at Chamen. Who supervised the construction?  Who was the appointed project construction engineer or supervisor? These are all the relevant questions that the prosecution team should have asked before charging someone who should be commended for implementing the project in a satisfactory manner.

For justice to be served, Judge Amadi must dismiss the case against Sheikh Tejan Sosseh, and all other future cases that are similar in nature.