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Gambia: State VS Gunjur Environmentalists


The case involving the State VS Gunjur Environmentalists resumed today, June 5th at the Brikama magistrate court presided over by Magistrate Omar Cham.


The case involving the State VS Gunjur Environmentalists resumed today, June 5th at the Brikama magistrate court presided over by Magistrate Omar Cham.

The five (5) activists are charged with THREE counts of offence ranging from; 1. Conspiracy to commit a felony, contrary to section 368 of the Criminal Code Cap 10.01 Vol. iii 2. Criminal trespass, contrary to section 285 (A) of the Criminal Code Cap 10.01Vol iii 3. Wilful damage to property, contrary to section 312 (1) of the Criminal Code Cap 10.01 Vol ¡¡¡ Laws of the Gambia 2009. The proceedings kicked off with the cross examination of Prosecution Witness 1 ( PW 1) in the person of Mr. Bakary Darboe. He told the court that he is a native of Gunjur and that he is the General Manager of the Golden Lead Import and Export Company Ltd. Asked what the said company does, the witness informed the court that they are into the business processing fish into fish meal and fish oil respectively and that they have employed 80 natives of Gunjur. PW1 said prior to the Golden Lead operations in Gunjur, their management together with one Mr. Dibba of the National Environment Agency embarked on an assessment study at two similar factories in Senegal and Mauritania respectively. "The primary intentions of our visit was to ascertain how those factories managed their waste products and we realised that the said two companies discharged their waste directly into the Atlantic Ocean" PW 1 stated. He said upon their return in the Gambia, they also "thought that they could do the same thing since it Is the same Atlantic Ocean" and that is why they (Golden Lead) too connected pipes to discharge their waste into the Ocean. He admitted that after some time, the NEA recommended that they should put In place a standard and a functional "treatment" Plant before continuing to discharge waste into the Ocean but they (Golden Lead) failed to meet this requirement and then they were dragged to court by NEA and charged with 4 counts of offence. PW 1 testified that during the course of the hearings, the NEA widrew the case but he FAILED TO STATE THE REASONS FOR SUCH A MOVE.

It could be recalled that Omar NK Darboe, Ousman Sanneh, Foday Karl Darboe and Lamin Jassey, together with Alhagie Kaku Bojang were invited for questioning at Gunjur Police in connection with the removal of the Golden Lead waste pipeline discharging factory waste into the sea. They were subsequently charged on three counts of incitement of violence, trespass and destruction of property to the dismay of many environmental and rights activists.

The five accused persons all appeared at Brikama Magistrates court on Wednesday 30th May where they all pleaded NOT GUILTY to the charges. The fifth accused, Dr Amadou Scattred Janneh who is currently visiting the United States was listed on the official charge sheet to be "at large"

The case was subsequently adjourned to 19th June at 10.00am


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