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Health Ministry Officials Pleaded “Not Guilty” To Corruption, Theft And Other Charges  

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Former PS Jaiteh, Balla Kanteh and Omar Malleh Ceesay at the High Court.

By Landing Ceesay  

Three officials from the Ministry of Health, facing a slew of allegations including official corruption, economic crimes, and other charges, pleaded not guilty in the High Court of the Gambia.

The charges brought forth by the State encompass official corruption, violating Section 86(a) of the Criminal Code; failure to fulfill statutory duties under Section 115 of the Criminal Code; conspiracy to commit a felony in accordance with Section 368 of the Criminal Code; and two counts of economic crimes as specified in Section 5(a) of the Economic Crimes (Specified Offences) Act, cap 13:07, punishable under Section 6(1) of the Economic Crimes (Specified Offences) Act.

The accused individuals are Balla Kandeh (the 1st accused), Omar Malleh Ceesay (the 2nd accused), and Muhammadou Lamin Jaiteh (the 3rd accused). The State has brought a total of 19 charges against them.

Furthermore, the accused are also facing eight counts of forgery, as stipulated in Section 318 of the Criminal Code, and five counts of theft, in violation of Section 252 of the Criminal Code.

These individuals are alleged to have embezzled and stolen a substantial sum of D24,313,332.26 (Twenty-Four Million, Three Hundred and Thirteen Thousand, Three Hundred and Thirty-Two Dalasis Twenty-Six Bututs) during their tenure at the Ministry of Health. Additionally, they are accused of stealing USD 59,256.00, equivalent to D3,901,829.83 (Three Million Nine Hundred and One Thousand, Eight Hundred and Twenty-Nine Dalasis Eighty-Three Bututs) while serving at the Ministry of Health.

When the case resumed on Monday, October 30th, 2023, Counsel E. R. Douga, representing the state, provided an amended version of the Bill of Indictment against the accused individuals.

The charges were read to the accused, and they all vehemently denied the allegations against them. Following this, State Lawyer Counsel Douga applied for an adjournment to summon their first witness to testify in the case.

Hon. Justice Ebrima Jaiteh of the High Court of the Gambia granted the adjournment requested by State Counsel. The case has been rescheduled for November 7th, 2023.

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