Prosecutors alleged that Sheikh Tijan Hydara sometime in 2020, at Bakau and diverse places within the Kanifing Municipality of The Republic of The Gambia, with intent to defraud, represented himself in a manner and obtained the sum of D461,500 from Fabakary Sanneh, Malang Sanneh, Mamadou Ousman Bah and Samba Sarr on the pretext that he will get them a Spanish visa, which representation he knew or believed to be false. He pleaded guilty when the charge sheet was read to him.
The prosecuting officer, ASP Sanyang, narrated the facts to the court. He stated that the accused approached Fabakary Sanneh and told him that he had a package for Spain visa. He said he was intrigued by what the accused told him. He adduced that Fabakary Sanneh then informed his friends, namely: Malang Sanneh, Mamadou Ousman Bah and Samba Sarr who were interested. “Malang Sanneh and Mamadou Ousman Bah each paid the accused D100,000 while Samba Sarr paid him D125,000. Fabakary Sanneh paid him D86,500,” he told the court.
He further posited that when they realised that the accused did not have any Spain package visa, they reported him to the police headquarters. He added that the accused was confronted about the claim and admitted it. He said he was cautioned and charged.
In his mitigation on behalf of the accused, the defence counsel told the court that the accused did not waste the time of the police and the court and accepted responsibility. “The accused is remorseful. He has a child and an elderly mother to take care of. I beg the court to temper justice with mercy and give him a custodial sentence,” he pleaded.
At this juncture, ASP Sanyang informed the court that the accused was convicted by the Bundung Magistrates’ Court of a similar offence and fined D60,000 in default to serve two years imprisonment. He also revealed to the court that the accused was once convicted by the Kanifing Magistrates’ Court on two counts of a similar offence and fined D350,000 in default to serve seven years imprisonment.
He applied under Section 145 of the CPC for the court to order the accused to compensate the complainants for their material losses. But the defence counsel objected to the application and stated that the transaction involving the accused and the complainants was illegal, and as a result, the complainants did not deserve compensation.
ASP Sanyang, on points of law, said that Section 145 of the CPC is mandatory for the complainants to be compensated. He further stated that the accused had pleaded guilty, meaning that he falsely received the said amount of money from the complainants who should be compensated by virtue of Section 145 of the CPC.
The matter was adjourned for ruling and sentence.