According to count one of the statement of offence, the accused person (Alagie Kebbe), between the year 2020 and 2021 at Banjul and other diverse places in The Gambia within the jurisdiction of the Court, did commit an offence to wit: received D64,080,000 (Sixty four million, Eighty thousand Dalasis) from 39 vendors for the supply of 58,500 bags of 50KG of rice to the Government of The Gambia whilst he delivered only 17,096 bags and intentionally refused to deliver the outstanding of 41,404 bags of the 50KG of rice, thereby committed an offence.
Count two of the statement of offence indicated that the accused person was between the year 2020 and 2021 at Banjul and other diverse places in The Gambia within the jurisdiction of the Court, did steal 41, 404 (Forty-one thousand four hundred and four) bags of 50KG of rice belonging to the Government of The Gambia (which was meant for distribution to the vulnerable families during the Covid-19 pandemic) and thereby committed an offence.
After the statement of offences were read to him, the accused person pleaded not guilty to both counts.
Representing the State, Director of Public Prosecution, A.M. Yusuf, relied on several sections of the Criminal Code and the Specified Offences Act for the court not to consider granting bail to the accused person.
In his argument, defence counsel L.S. Camara and K. Jallow filed an application for bail, relying under sections 19 and 24 of the 1997 Constitution, section 99 (1) of the Criminal Procedure Code and section 8 of the Economic Crimes (Specified Offences) Act that the applicant (Alagie Kebbe) be released from custody upon entering into recognizance with or without sureties condition for his appearance before any court “where any charge(s) preferred against him will be heard”, or in the alternative.
The application was supported by 33 paragraphs of affidavit sworn by the accused person with some emphasis on why he should be granted bail by the court.
In his affidavit, among other things, he indicated that the has four wives and thirteen children including a five-week-old baby boy who he hadn’t seen since birth, adding that he was a well-known person in his community and he had built a big mosque and Islamic school (Madrasas) for the community.
The affidavit indicated that he had no criminal record and had never had any problem with the law, that he would not interfere with any investigation, if any.
Defence counsel LS Camara further argued that the offences that were inferred against the accused person were bailable and the section of the Economic Crime (Specified Offences) Act are clear about it.
Delivering her ruling on the application, Justice Jobarteh submitted that after hearing both sides of the counsel’s arguments, she alluded that all offences are bailable except offences of murder and life imprisonment. She therefore, granted bail to the applicant with the sum of 16 million dalasis (Sixteen million dalasis) with three Gambian sureties, and the applicant to tender all his travelling documents and to meet other additional bail conditions.
The case was adjourned till 6 November 2023 for hearing.