(JollofNews) – A magistrates’ court in the Gambia Monday acquitted and discharged the country’s former permanent secretary, who was standing trial for giving false information to President Yahya Jammeh.
Mambanyick Njie was arrested and charged in November 2012 by police after he wrote a letter in March 2012 to President Jammeh exposing corruption and financial malpractices in the Gambia Football Association (GFA).
In the letter, he alleged among other things that senior executives of the GFA gave false account of the imprest that was given to them for international matches played by the Gambian national football team.
Acting on the content of the letter, President Yahya Jammeh dissolved the executive of the football association. However, a task force that was commissioned to probe the executive cleared them from any wrong doing.
Not happy with the findings of the task force, President Yahya Jammeh ordered the sacking, arrest and prosecution of Mr Njie.
But after a trial lasting two years, Principal Magistrate Dawda Jallow of the Banjul Court, said the corruption allegations that Mr Njie made in his letter to the president were true and it would be wrong to punished him for blowing the whistle.
The magistrate said although the former executive of the football association have denied the allegation, a former senior executive member of the association who gave evidence in court has admitted that he was once given 1200 Euros as personal allowance for six national football team players during a trip to Portugal. He added that although the six players never made the trip, there is no record as to what has happened to that money.
Magistrate Jallow said he also come to agree with the defendant that the former GFA executive had borrowed money given to them by FIFA for the development of Gambian football without any proper documentation.
He added: “The evidence before the court showed that over D1 million had been issued out by the executive of the then GFA as personal loans to the staff. But according to their own auditor, out of 24 recipients of this loan, only two application forms could be produced which even had no repayment periods.”
The magistrate added that a former GFA executive member who gave evidence in court has admitted receiving the loan without even applying for it.
He said although the GFA constitution has stipulated that the executive committee shall prepare, submit and defend an annual budget to it’s general assembly for adoption, the football association has not held an annual general meeting for 2009, 2010 and 2011 in breach of the constitution.
“I am satisfied that the content of the petition letter is not entirely false and in the light of all the above, it is my view that the prosecution did not discharge its legal burden of proof to the required legal standard set under the Evidence Act 1994 and consequently, the accused is hereby acquitted and discharged,” the magistrate ruled.