By Alhagie Jobe
Gambia’s former Attorney General and Minister of Justice Lamin AMS Jobarteh who benefitted from a presidential pardon in 2015 as he was serving a two years prison term may return back to jail in Mile II Central Prison if information received by The Fatu Network is anything to go by.
A leaked reply letter obtained by this medium dated 12th November 2015 from the Office of The President signed by Isatou Auber for Secretary General and addressed to the Solicitor General and Legal Secretary at the Ministry of Justice with Subject: State VS Lamin AMS Jobarteh indicated an executive decision that the criminal charges against Mr Jobareth cannot be dropped.
The executive decision contained in the two paragraph letter was an acknowledgement of receipt by the Office of the President of the Solicitor General and Legal Secretary’s letter ref: AG/C/27/VOL.3/PART V/ (78) dated 4th November 2015 in which the Solicitor General and Legal Secretary sought clarification on the criminal charges filed by the State against Lamin AMS Jobarteh.
The reply letter reads: I acknowledge receipt of your letter ref: AG/C/27/VOL.3/PART V/ (78) dated 4th November 2015 in which you sought clarification on the criminal charges filed by the State against Lamin AMS Jobarteh.
The correspondence was duly transmitted and I convey the Executive decision that the criminal charges against Mr Jobarteh cannot be dropped.
Mr Jobarteh was convicted and sentenced on Thursday, 19th December 2013 along with former Secretary General Dr Njogu Bah, and former Solicitor General Pa Harry Jammeh, to a mandatory jail term of two years by the Special Criminal Court after been found guilty on charges of conspiracy to carry out a lawful purpose by an unlawful means and abuse of office.
Previous criminal cases
Mr Jobarteh who was facing several criminal charges along with Pa Harry Jammeh, former Solicitor General were first arraigned before the Banjul Magistrate Court presided over by Magistrate Dawda Jallow on Wednesday, 19th June, 2013, charged with ten counts including conspiracy to defeat justice, official corruption, negligence of official duties, abuse of office and destroying evidence. They pleaded not guilty and were remanded in Prison custody.
On Wednesday July 24th, 2013, the state prosecutors filed more charges against Mr Jobarteh at the Special Criminal Court in Banjul before former Justice Emmanuel Nkea. The charges included abuse of office, wrongfully retaking possession of land from person who obtained possession by writ of court, economic crime, giving false information to a public officer, forcible entry, and operating business without a license.
Mr Jobarteh denied the charges, and was granted a court bail of D3 million with two Gambian sureties with landed properties within the Greater Banjul Area which worth D3 million. The bail conditions further stipulated that Jobarteh should be reporting every Monday, Wednesday and Friday to the Old Yundum Police Station and should also deposit his travel documents with the registrar of the High Court.
On Monday, December 16th, 2013, state prosecutors brought another two fresh count charges of abuse of office against Mr Jobarteh, at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court presided over by Principal Magistrate Hilary Abeke.
On Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015, Mr Jobarteh was among over 200 prisoners amnestied by President Jammeh during the 21st anniversary celebration of the July 22nd Revolution. Those pardoned included were those who were convicted and imprisoned, during the period from 1994 to 2013, for various specified offences, including treason, murder, and drug trafficking. Among those released were also prisoners on death row or serving life imprisonment.
All those prisoners that fell under the said categories were released on Friday 24th July, 2015 at a ceremony held at the headquarters of the Gambia Prisons Service located at Mile 2 just outside Banjul.
Until his day of pardon, Mr Jobarteh was on trial in two separate criminal cases at the Special Criminal Court in Banjul, plus one other criminal case at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court.