By Dawda Faye
Yankuba Touray, former member of the AFPRC junta, on the 4th February, 2019, pleaded not guilty to a charge of interfering with information or witnesses, contrary to section 36(a) of the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission Act, Laws of The Gambia 2017 before Principal Magistrate Isatou Janneh-Njie of the Kanifing Magistrates’ Court.
Prosecutors alleged that on or about the 5th January, 2019, at Kanifing and diverse places, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court of the Republic of The Gambia, with intent to obstruct or interfere with the work of the TRRC, the accused called Alagie Kanyi, a potential TRRC witness, through his mobile phone and told him that he should not mind the commission, as they cannot do anything, which act suggests or amounts to interfering with the work of the commission in the discharge of its functions.
Defense Counsel Abdoulie Sissoho, who was representing the accused person, applied to the court to grant bail to the accused. He argued that the offence is bailable and it is an allegation. He further stated that the accused is presumed innocent until he is found guilty or he pleads guilty, citing Section 24 of the constitution.
He told the court that the accused would not travel out of the jurisdiction because he does not have a valid ID card and a passport. He further submitted that the fundamental right of the accused supersedes other rights.
He argued that the accused would provide sureties who would make sure that he would be available whenever he is needed by the court. He urged the court to grant bail to the accused.
ASP Manga, who was representing the Inspector General of Police, replied that although the charge against the accused was serious, it was the discretion of the court to grant bail to the accused. He said that the terms and conditions of the bail should secure the presence and attendance of the accused in court.
The presiding magistrate, in her ruling, told the court that the offense is bailable. She stated that the offence attracts a sentence to a fine of D1,000,000 in default to serve three years imprisonment or both. She therefore granted bail to the accused in the sum of D1,000,000 with two Gambian sureties, one of whom should have a landed property within the Greater Banjul Area. The title deed should be surrendered to the registrar. They should also swear to an affidavit of means and surrender their ID cards to the registrar of the court.
The sureties must make sure that the accused is available whenever he is needed by the court, and that the accused should not interfere with the witnesses.
ASP Manga is expected to make a lineup of his witnesses on the 11th March, 2019, for the commencement of the case.