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GAMBIA: STATE INVESTIGATION ALLEGES THAT DJABI & OTHERS ARE PART OF A TRANSBORDER DRUG CARTEL

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AM Yusuf, the Director of Public Prosecution, has asserted that Paulo Djabi, Nadine Pereira, Mamadu Neto Djabi, and Secuna Jabi are members of a transnational “drug cartel network” operating in Gambia, Senegal, and Guinea-Bissau.

On behalf of the state, Attorney Yusuf informed the court that a motion seeking to halt the execution of the Magistrates’ Court’s order granting parole to Paulo Djabi and others was filed on October 13, 2023.
The motion is supported by a 19-paragraph affidavit sworn to by Momodou Lamin Jabbi, according to counsel Yusuf. In addition, he informed the court that the state relies on all of the affidavit’s paragraphs, particularly paragraphs 7, 8, 9, 10, 13, 14, 15, and 16, and urged the court to grant the requested relief.

Attorney Yusuf argued that paragraphs 11 and 12 of the affidavit demonstrate the danger associated with granting parole to the defendant under the circumstances. He claimed that the accused pose an escape risk if released on bond.

The Honorable Justice Achibonga asked Counsel Yusuf, “If you grant bail to the accused, will they automatically leave the jurisdiction?”
In response, Counsel Yusuf informed the court that the accused’s departure from the jurisdiction is not automatic, but noted that the accused are not Gambian citizens.

Counsel Yusuf emphasized that the court is considering severe charges and that the accused have connections to transnational criminal activity.

He asserted that the suspects are members of a transnational criminal organization that operates in The Gambia, Senegal, and Guinea-Bissau.

“There are still ongoing investigations into their other activities. There is evidence that the accused were involved in drug cartel networks inside and outside the country. Their release will impede the ongoing investigation even further, Attorney Yusuf told the court.
The State filed a motion in response to the magistrates court’s decision to hear and adjudicate the drug and money laundering allegations against the defendants and to grant them parole during the proceedings.

The State then filed an appeal with the High Court challenging the decision of the Magistrates’ Court to manage the allegations against the defendants.

Counsel Yusuf apprised the court of significant jurisdictional concerns regarding the appeal.

“Your Honor, the appeal is founded exclusively on the magistrates’ court’s jurisdiction. If the court rules in our favor, the decision of the Magistrates’ Court would be rendered null and invalid, and the parole would be declared null and void, said Counsel Yusuf.

Justice Achibonga posed the query, “What if the appellant court determines that the Magistrate has jurisdiction, but still releases the accused?”
In response to Justice Achibonga, Counsel Yusuf refrained from providing a forthright response. Instead, he informed the court that they were prepared to vigorously pursue prosecution of the accused.

In response, Justice Achibonga voiced concern, stating, “If you are diligent in prosecuting the accused, the records of the Magistrates’ Court should be here by now. One month has passed and there is still no record, yet you speak of diligent prosecution,”

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