Friday, December 8

Granting Paulo & Co bail may jeopardise police investigation – Judge Achibongo

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The court, which sat on Tuesday 17 October 2023, said there is a significant risk that a person who is granted bail, considering the substantial amount of money they are alleged to have laundered, might abscond and easily refund the bail sum since it was far lesser than the alleged amount on the case involving Paulo Djabi, Nadine Pereira, Mamadu Neto Djabi and Secuna Djabi. 

A.M. Yusuf, Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), submitted to the court that “the lower court lacks the jurisdiction” to preside over the case and he pleaded to the court to deny the accused bail. 

The DPP claimed that Paulo and his associates are non-Gambian nationals, noting that they might leave the jurisdiction if granted bail.

DPP Yusuf also disclosed that investigations were ongoing, adding that Paulo and associates might hinder them if granted bail.

The DPP applied for an order from the court for a stay of proceedings at the Kanifing Magistrates’ Court, pending the hearing and determination of the case at the High Court.

However, defence lawyers K. Jallow and C. Gaye for the 4th accused opposed DPP’s application, accusing the prosecution of lack of due diligence in pursuing the matter after filing their interim injunction on 19 September 2023 at the High Court, seeking a refusal of bail to the accused persons.

Defence Council K. Jallow further said the application of the state for a stay of proceedings should not be granted by the court, adding that the state failed to respect the rights of the accused persons by granting them bail as per the court order.

“We believe that the investigations are done; that is why the charges are before this court. The Justice of the court will dictate that the motion filed on the 13 as the application will be refused,” defence counsel Jallow stated.

Giving reasons and the circumstances of the case, Justice Achibongo ordered that the orders issued by the trial court on September 14, 2023, and September 19, 2023 be stayed until the appeal is resolved.

Court stated that the state’s due diligence in prosecuting the appeal had been called into question, as the records from the lower court had not been prepared or submitted.

He said considering the urgency of the situation and the state’s responsibility, a mere stay of execution without further conditions would not serve the interests of justice.

“Therefore, the stay of the orders from the Kanifing Magistrate court, as mentioned above, will be granted but subject to specific terms. This order will remain in effect for a period of 14 days only, during which the state must ensure that the record of appeal is promptly prepared and transmitted to the court,” Justice Achibongo ruled.

The next hearing is scheduled for October 31, 2023 at 12:00 noon for mention.