Momodou Lamin Badjie, former councilor of Ebo Town/Jeshwang ward.
By Buba Gagigo
Mrs. Amie N.D. Bensouda has through her counsel at the law firm, Farage Andrews Law Practice, written a cease-and-desist letter to Momodou Lamin Badjie, former councilor of Ebo Town/Jeshwang ward, demanding a written and public apology or in lieu pay her one hundred million dalasis for defamation.
This came after Mr. Badjie alleged at a press conference that the mayor, Talib Ahmed Bensouda, used the Council as a business venture for his family. He also allegedly said at that press conference that Talib’s mother, Mrs. Amie Bensouda, had shares in AGIB Bank, and he (Talib) used those shares as collateral to secure a loan to finance the Mbalit project.
“In particular, our instructions are that your defamatory statements involve false statements you knowingly, intentionally and/or recklessly made at a press conference held on 7th March 2023, where all media outlets in the country were present. The media conference was also streamed live and published to millions online on YouTube and Facebook, amongst other social media outlets. You stated thus:
“They [Kanifing Municipal Councill took a loan from AGIB Bank, a bank where his [Talib Ahmed Bensouda’s] mother has shares. This is why I said that Talib used Council you know as a business venture for his family. The mother has shares at AGIB Bank, and he used that [sic]shares as a collateral to secure a loan for them to finance the Mbalit project.”
Mrs. Bensouda’s lawyers took umbrage at these utterances and the negative impact they alleged it will have on her positive reputation built over the years, considering that she represents clients nationally and internationally, who depend on her exceptional integrity and public standing.
“As you may be aware, our Client is a well renowned senior advocate in The Gambia and represents, amongst others, local companies and businesses as well as international public corporations and organisations both within and outside of The Gambia. Additionally, our Client is also a well-respected businesswoman in the community with exceptional integrity and public standing.
“Our Client is a respected professional in the community and amongst her peers. She has spent decades in her capacity as a legal practitioner in building a positive reputation and in serving her community. Our client has instructed us that you have engaged in spreading false, destructive, and defamatory statements about her.
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The lawyers went on to state that Momodou Lamin Badjie was aware of the falsity of the statement he made, thus an attempt to defame and damage their client’s reputation.
“You were at all times fully aware of the falsity of your statement and the same was a deliberate attempt to damage our client’s well-earned reputation, given that there are public records as to who the shareholders of AGIB Bank are and who does business with the Kanifing Municipality.”
Mrs. Bensouda’s lawyers contended that the statements made by the former Council, were an attempt to taint their client as an individual engaged in a corrupt activity with a public entity and since the statements form part of a worldwide public record, it could cause irreparable damage to their client’s reputation and professional interests.
“You were at all times fully aware of the falsity of your statement and the same was a deliberate attempt to damage our client’s well-earned reputation, given that there are public records as to who the shareholders of AGIB Bank are and who does business with the Kanifing Municipality.
“Our client’s further Instruction is that your defamatory statements were malicious and false and targeted to mislead the public to believe that our Client used her personal resources to transact with a public entity in order to profit from public resources. The statement attempts to taint our client as someone engaged in corruption with a public entity. As a consequence, these statements form part of the worldwide public record and will cause irreparable harm to our client’s reputation and professional interests.”
To this end, they are demanding that former Councilor, Momodou Lamin Badjie, take the following steps:
“(A) immediately cease and desist your unlawful defamation of our Client;
“(B) provide us with a prompt written apology and assurance within five (5) days that you will cease and desist from further defamation of our client’s character and reputation; and
“(C) make a public apology at a press conference within 10 days, retracting the statement made on 7th March 2023.
The cease-and-desist letter went on to elaborate on the actions their client will take if the former councilor of Ebo Town/ Jeashwang ward of the Kanifing Municipal council refused to comply with their demands within ten (10) days.
“If you do not comply with this cease-and-desist demand within this time period stated, our client is entitled to seek monetary damages and equitable relief for your defamation.
“In the event you fail to meet this demand, please be advised that our client has asked us to communicate to you that she will pursue all available legal remedies, including seeking monetary damages, which our client will be seeking in the sum of GMD100 Million (One Hundred Million Gambian Dalasis), injunctive relief, and an order that you pay all legal and administrative costs associated with the course of action.
“Your liability and exposure under such legal action could be considerable. Before taking these steps, however, my client wished to give you one opportunity to discontinue your illegal conduct by complying with this demand within Ten (10) days.”