By Landing Ceesay
The Former Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Fisheries, Dr. Bamba Banja was sentenced to 2 years in prison for bribery and corruption and fined over D1.1 million.
The Office of the Attorney General announced made the announcement in a press release sent out on Wednesday, March 8th, 2023.
“The charges laid against Dr Banja by this office in 2021 included three counts of serious Economic and Financial Crimes, specifically Economic Crimes in contravention of section 5 of the Economic Crime Act, official corruption as stipulated by section 86 (a) of the Criminal Code and Receiving Property to show favour in violation of Section 88 of the Criminal Code.
“The public is further informed that Dr. Banja has been duly convicted, and as such has received appropriate punishment in accordance with the severity of his crime. Specifically, count 1 relating to Economic Crimes has resulted in a mandatory jail term of 2 years. Coupled with a fine of D1,000,000 to be paid to the state. In default of payment, he will serve an additional year in jail. On count 2, relating to official corruption, Dr. Banja has been ordered to pay D100,000 or serve 1 year in jail. Finally, on count 3, relating to public officer receiving property to show favour, Dr. Banja has been ordered to pay D50,000 or serve 6 months in jail,” the Attorney General’s Office announced.
The AG Chambers said Dr. Banja’s conviction is in connection with his acceptance of bribes to secure the release of fishing vessels that had been arrested by the Gambia Navy for violating fisheries regulations.
“We wish to make it clear that this office regards corrupt practices with utmost seriousness and as such, today’s conviction serves as a strong and unequivocal warning to public servants who might consider engaging in similar activities. The office of the Attorney General is currently prosecuting a number of cases that are linked to corruption and financial malpractices, and we will not relent in our efforts to stamp out this menace,” AG Chambers said in a press release.