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High Court Approves Bail Totaling D127.5 Million For Paulo Djabi And Co-Defendants

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Paulo Djabi, one of the accused


By Landing Ceesay 

Honorable Justice Achibonga, presiding over the High Court of the Gambia, has on Wednesday granted bail to Paulo Djabi, Nadine Pereira, Mamadu Neto Djabi, and Secuna Jabi, with a cumulative bail amount of D127,500,000.

This decision follows an application filed by their legal representatives seeking bail pending the trial’s hearing and determination. The accused were initially charged on September 13, 2023, with fifteen counts of drug-related offenses and money laundering.

The prosecution, led by Commissioner A. Ceesay of the Drug Law Enforcement Agency (DLEAG), had requested the transfer of the case to the High Court, citing the jurisdiction of money laundering cases falling under its purview.

Contrary to the prosecution’s request, Magistrate Omar Jabang of the Kanifing Magistrates’ Court granted bail to the accused on September 14, 2023, and rejected the transfer, maintaining the Magistrates’ Court’s competence for money laundering charges. Despite the Magistrates’ Court’s decision, the DLEAG re-arrested and detained the individuals, prompting an appeal by the prosecution to the High Court.

In response to the appeal, the High Court issued an injunction, ordering the continued detention of the accused pending the appeal’s hearing and determination. Justice Achibonga, in delivering the ruling, highlighted the Magistrates’ Court’s errors in both the bail application and jurisdiction, emphasizing that a court cannot exceed its statutorily granted jurisdiction.

Shortly thereafter, the legal counsel for the accused, S.M. Tambedou and LS Camara, filed an originating summons seeking bail for their clients pending the main suit’s hearing and determination. Unlike previous bail applications, the State did not oppose this application.

In the absence of objections from the State, Hon. Justice Achibonga granted bail to Paulo Djabi, set at D120 million, with two Gambian sureties holding landed properties. Paulo Djabi is also required to surrender both his international passports to the High Court Registrar, with strict instructions not to access them.

Nadine Pereira secured bail for D5 million, along with two Gambian sureties possessing landed properties. Similar to Djabi, she must surrender her two international passports, with no access permitted.

Mamadou Neto Djabi was granted bail at D2 million, backed by one Gambian surety with a landed property worth D2 million. He is obligated to surrender his international passport to the High Court Registrar.

Secuna Jabi received bail amounting to D500 thousand, supported by one Gambian surety owning a landed property worth D500 thousand.

The cumulative bail bond for all accused persons sums up to D127,500,000.

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