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Breaking News: Gambia: GAMCOTRAP TO SUE POLICE, AND SPANISH YOLOCAMBA!
GAMCOTRAP TO SUE POLICE, AND SPANISH YOLOCAMBA!

Ten Million Lawsuit For False Imprisonment, And Malicious Prosecution!

“It is not only a question of false imprisonment, it is a question of malicious prosecution.  Not only that, but we will consider filing an action for specific performance of the agreement between Dr. Touray, and this Spanish Organization, because they have a written contract, and they are bound by that contract. So, the woman cannot unilaterally change that contract from women and gender affairs to microfinance.  We will ask for special performance and claim damages for malicious prosecution.  Of course, that is not less than ten million dalasi,” he said.

By Pa Nderry M’Bai

Email: panderrymbai@gmail.com

Tel: 919-749-6319

Lawyers representing the embattled GAMCOTRAP Executive Director, Dr. Isatou Touray, and her Program Coordinator Amie Bojang Sissoho are confident of securing the freedom of their clients, even though the police is out for "malicious" prosecution. The defense is also poised to file a ten million dalasi “false imprisonment” and malicious prosecution lawsuit on behalf of their clients against the state, and its affiliate institutions such as the office of the Inspector General of police, one of the attorneys of the accused persons Lamin K Mboge tells Freedom Radio in an Exclusive Interview.  For The Gambian born Nigerian trained lawyer, the recent “theft” charges filed against his clients are not only malicious, but untenable in law. He believes that the police are out to criminalize “innocent” hardworking Gambian gender activists, who devoted all their life serving humanity.

“We are trying our level best. I’m not alone in this case.  I have senior counsel Mrs. Amie Bensoda, who is the leading defense counsel and another female lawyer, from the Female Lawyers Association called Mrs. Jahateh. And the three of us are representing the accused persons. But from my understanding of the case, it is a pure civil case. It has no criminal element, because there must be an intention to steal before you can convict on a case of theft,” Lawyer Mboge said.

According to Lawyer Mboge, even though the state law office had advised the police to stay away from the case; in that it is a civil matter, the Inspector General of police Yankuba Sonko decided to file criminal charges against the accused persons. He says this is a clear case of malicious prosecution. He says the police ignored a legal opinion given by the AG Chambers to drop the case.

“For now, the police are prosecuting the case, because there is a conflict between the police, and the state law office. They have earlier advised that this is a civil matter and they wondered how this matter came up. So they have an internal misunderstanding.  Hopefully, if it is resolved, it would be in favor of Dr. Touray. That this is not a criminal case. It is a  civil case. And they will withdraw the case. But if they want to go ahead with the case, they have to prove their case, and the lady must come and testify because she is the complainant,” Mboge told Freedom Radio.  

The first panel that was constituted to investigate into the alleged financial impropriety at GAMCOTRAP, following a Presidential directive exonerated Dr. Touray and Madam Amie Bojang Sissoho. The panel concluded that there was no criminal element or evidence found during the investigations that should warrant charges to be filed against the accused persons, Mr. Mboge said. He adds that the officers assigned to investigate the GAMCOTRAP alleged criminal case were dismissed after presenting their report to the authorities.  The report was never made public. Even his clients were never availed with a copy of the said report, he said.

President’s Office Ordered For GAMCOTRAP PROBE

After the visit of the representative of the Spanish Company to The Gambia, who had an audience with President Jammeh, the office of the President ordered for an inquiry into the GAMCOTRAP alleged theft case.

“I know of the order to investigate. I have seen that order myself from the President’s office, for the police to investigate and report to the Secretary General. But the issue of their arrest or charges, I think that was recommended by the panel,” said Lawyer Mboge.

After sacking the first batch of investigators assigned to the case, a second panel was constituted.  Dr. Touray had just in time filed a petition to the President’s office—demanding to see the President Yahya Jammeh so that she can explain her own side of the story.  The Spanish lady, who was assigned to oversee the GAMCOTRAP fund disbursement had a disagreement with Dr. Touray. She wanted  GAMCOTRAP to shift their line of operations from gender, women, and children’s issues, to microfinance, which never went down well with Dr. Touray.

“The Spanish lady intends to divert her cause to microfinance institution and Madam Touray said I am not dealing with microfinance. I don’t have experience. I don’t have staff who are capable to go into microfinance. That’s to lend money to women and they will pay it back. Dr. Touray said this was against her principles and that of GAMCOTRAP’S operational goals,” Lawyer Mboge said

Smear Campaign Against Dr. Touray And Sissoho

Following her unsuccessful bid to have Dr. Touray concede to her request for the project to be micro financed, the Spanish lady decided to file a complaint against her to The Gambian authorities, said lawyer Mboge. But for Lawyer Mboge, the Spanish lady is out to undermine the reputation of the accused persons.  

“It is just like somebody, who is bent on damaging another person’s credibility. Prior to this case, they had entered an agreement contract to sponsor GAMCOTRAP for women and children’s welfare in The Gambia. And they have successfully concluded that contract.  Madam Touray, was sent to Spain to go and raise funds to extend their contract. And she did all the campaign in Spain, and raised about 10 million dalasi out of D5 Million, which has already been paid.  And now the lady.. Spanish lady intends  to change the cause from women’s affairs to microfinance, which Madam Touray says no. This was not the agreement. That caused the disagreement between the two parties. And because she had the money in hands, she doesn’t want to disburse all that money to Madam Touray. She decided to lay a complaint of theft against her and her colleagues,” he adds.  

Even though she the (Spanish lady) lured the police into this high profile criminal trial, she is nowhere to be seen. She is believed to be outside The Gambia.  But the defense insists that she has to show up in court to prove her allegations of financial impropriety against Dr. Touray and Madam Sissoho.

“Presently, she is out of the country.  She is not in the country. It will be very difficult for her because… There was a legal opinion on this file from the Ministry of Justice, who advised the police that this is a civil matter. So when the matter came up to court, and the Ministry was consulted, they were surprised. They said they had advised earlier that this is a civil matter. So how come it is a criminal matter now? That is the problem,” Lawyer Mboge posits.  

  Why Spanish Lady Changed Her Mind?

There are some intervening factors which led to this, because the woman is also in contact with other women groups, who I can  say may be are jealous of the success of GAMCOTRAP, said lawyer Mboge. If these funds are given to GAMCOTRAP, he went on “they are going to certainly make a good name and impression and reputation in the country. I think it is through the influence of third parties, that the woman changed her mind that from women and gender issues to microfinance.”

Due to a “Lawyer, and client confidentiality” Mr. Mboge said he is not at liberty to divulge the name of women groups bent on undermining the activities of GAMCOTRAP.  He said his client had advised him not to disclose the women groups concerned, but insists that they are aware of the Spanish lady’s relationship with the unnamed women groups.

“There are some intervening factors which led to this, because the woman is also in contact with other women groups, who I can  say may be are jealous of the success of GAMCOTRAP. If these funds are given to GAMCOTRAP, they are going to certainly make a good name and impression and reputation in the country. I think it is through the influence of third parties, that the woman changed her mind that from women and gender issues to microfinance,” he observed.

GAMCOTRAP is actively engaged in anti female genital mutilation campaign in The Gambia. The organization wants to see an end to FGM, and other cultural practices inimical to the life of the girl child. It operates outside Government funding. The organization secured its funding mainly from private organizations.

Mr. Mboge believes that the police’s move to criminalize innocent Gambians would send wrong signals to the country’s citizens, and the civilized world. He wondered how comes that the police can favor one party to detriment of the other.

“They are sending a wrong signal to the public and the international community, that there is something wrong somewhere in the administration of justice. If all are equal before the law, the state should not favor one citizen against another, much more a foreign national against a citizen of your own country,” Lawyer Mboge said.

Like many Gambians, said Mr. Mboge, he was equally surprised about the charges filed against these decent women. He said the charges are malicious. 

“It is unbelievable.  It is unbelievable in the sense that since 1984, GACOTRAP has been in operation.  I never heard of any case of misappropriation of funds.  I know  Dr. Touray as a principled lady. And I know she has never been involved in any kind of fraud or misappropriation.  I have the details of this case because Madam Touray had written a petition to the President about this case.  While, they are waiting for her to have a meeting with the President, they decided to bring up the case in court.  It is a surprise to me really,” he noted.

 Solidarity Yolocamba To Be Sued For Breach Of Contract

While Lawyer Mboge announced their intention to file false imprisonment, and malicious charges against the IGP, he said the Spanish based SOLIDARITY YOLOCAMBA would also have its own share on this looming major lawsuit to be filed by his clients.  He said theSpanish lady deviated from the original contract that was reached between her and GAMCOTRAP by trying to impose microfinance lending system to GAMCOTRAP. He unveiled a ten million dalasi lawsuit to be filed by the defendants against the parties named therein.

“It is not only a question of false imprisonment, it is a question of malicious prosecution.  Not only that, but we will consider filing an action for specific performance of the agreement between Dr. Touray, and this Spanish Organization, because they have a written contract, and they are bound by that contract. So, the woman cannot unilaterally change that contract from women and gender affairs to microfinance.  We will ask for special performance and claim damages for malicious prosecution.  Of course, that is not less than ten million dalasi,” he said.

Mr. Mboge noted that his clients executed the contract to the letter. He said in the interest of justice, his clients would seek redress for damages they suffered during the period in question. He adds that the issue of microfinance was not part of the original agreement reached with the Spanish Organization. 

Regarding the defense’s plans to have the accused persons freed Lawyer Mboge commented “I am 100 percent sure that once we lay our cards on the table, everybody will see that Dr. Touray, and her partner are right in this case. The truth will always prevail.”

             Bail Application Withdrawn

According to defense lawyer Mboge, following the state’s failure to contest their bail application in the high court, they have decided to withdraw the application. He said the presiding magistrate in the lower court had earlier ruled that come the next hearing scheduled for Wednesday, he would grant bail to the accused persons. 

“We have filed an application in the high court for bail, and we don’t want to undermine the magistrate, who have already  make an order for the police to complete their investigations within one week so that he will  grant them bail on Wednesday.  And on Friday, when this matter came up in the high court, the state have not file their affidavit in opposition. That means that they were not ready for the case.  So we as a defense team, we put our heads together and then we agreed to withdraw that application not to jeopardize their right to bail that has already been pronounced by the magistrate.  Hopefully they will be granted bail by the magistrate Wednesday,” he told Freedom Radio.

 

 


Posted on Monday, October 18, 2010 (Archive on Thursday, December 30, 2010)
Posted by PNMBAI  Contributed by PNMBAI
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