The Gambia’s remanded former Minister of Works at last secured the right to bail. Justice Simone Abi of the High Court in Banjul last week granted bail to Ousman Badjie.
Mr. Badjie’s bail bond includes two Gambian sureties each owning a landed property worth D5 million dalasi within the Greater Banjul Area. The sureties must also swear to an affidavit of means and deposit their original title deeds to the registrar of the High Court before the release of the applicant from custody.
Apart from surrendering his travel documents to the court, Mr. Badjie was ordered to report to Brusubi police every Monday and Friday until the final determination of the case.
Badjie’s attorney Lamin Camara had earlier urged the court to release his client on bail. This was vehemently opposed by the prosecution fearing the accused could interfere with investigation and jump bail. The prosecution also said it had planned to file additional charges against Ousman Badjie.
“The state is at liberty to file a charge against any person suspected of having committed an offence,” Justice Abi ruled, saying he has not come across any authority bars a person on bail from being arraigned on another charge.
“The state did not dispute the fact that the applicant is a family man with four children as alleged and the state has not given any reason why they suppose that the applicant will jump bail except for the severity of the charge and punishment. In my view, the fear of jumping bail in this case is unfounded. The law is that the main function of bail is to ensure the presence of the accused at the trial,” the trial judge ruled, releasing Mr. Badjie on bail.
The prosecution meanwhile slapped Mr. Badjie with two additional charges for the loss of more than 27,000 Euros to the Gambia government. He is accused of failing to pursue the said money being paid to one Faisal Bojang, a former financial attaché at the Gambia Embassy in Paris. The said money was paid to Mr. Bojang by Société Générale Agence Centrale in Paris without authorisation.
Badjie, who was earlier charged with one count of economic crime and two counts of negligence, now faces five counts.
Ousman Badjie, the former Gambian Ambassador to France, is expected in court on Monday to take his plea, although the Chief prosecutor Saleh Barkun is not sure who will preside over the case.
Badjie has been remanded in Mile 2 Central Prisons since his dismissal as the Minister of Works
on November 13th this year.