Newspapers in Banjul on Friday were dominated by stories of the acquittal of Mamburay Njie the former Minister of Finance of two charges by the state, and Gambia’s ratification of two conventions on the elimination of statelessness.All the daily newspapers, the Daily Observer, The Point, The Standard, and Foroyaa reported that the High Court in Banjul Thursday acquitted and discharged the former Minister of Finance in his case against the state.
The state accused ex-minister Njie of two counts of economic crimes and neglect of official duty.
Njie pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
In his ruling, the presiding judge, Justice Mikailu Abdulahi, said the state has failed to prove a prima facie case against Mr Njie by failing to adduce evidence on the monetary loss caused to the government by the accused person.
The ruling came after Njie’s lawyer, Lamin Camara, made a ‘no-case-to-answer’ submission last week that none of the state witnesses had produced incriminating evidence to link the former minister to the allegations of economic crimes with which he was charged.
Meanwhile, Observer reported that The Gambia has acceded to the 1954 Convention and the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness at a Special Treaty event in Geneva.
A press release from the Ministry of the Interior said Gambia’s accession to the two conventions is a critical step to the elimination of statelessness [especially given the fact that] nearly one million individuals in West Africa do not have a determined nationality they are stateless.
It said The Gambia’s accession to the two conventions confirms that statelessness is a relevant issue in the country and is a first step towards putting in legal safeguards to ensure all children born in the country who would otherwise be stateless acquire nationality.
There is a growing awareness in West Africa and the rest of the world that states must assume a leadership role in the eradication of statelessness and the protection of stateless populations. As of today, five of the 15 countries in the region are party to both Stateless Conventions.
Benin, Cote D’Ivoire, Liberia, Nigeria, and Senegal have acceded to both conventions.
Three additional states – Burkina Faso, Guinea, and Niger – are party to one or the other.
( Courtesy AGENCIES ………. Source ……….. NEW AFRICA BUSINESS NEWS)