State Guard Soldiers Escape Death!!….Speeding Africell Manger Ran Over Jammeh’s Convoy

Court Imposes D30,000 Fine Against El Makami or To Face One Year Behind Bars

Africell Boss’s Driver’s License Suspended For One Year

By Demba Ceesay, Banjul.

Drama ensued Sunday night, when Africell boss drove dangerously at the traffic light area where police and the army were waiting for Yayah Jammeh’s convoy from the airport on his return from Taiwan 11:15 precisely, the Freedom Newspaper can authoritatively report. The drama took place when police and army officials stood guard to clear the road off vehicles for the Presidential convoy when suddenly the Africell boss emerged from no where zooming in speed among the police nearly knocking down the soldiers in desperation to leave the scenery before Jammeh’s arrival. There was total pandemonium in the area, as armed soldiers were taken by surprise by the speeding driver.

Angry soldiers could be heard saying that the speeding driver should be killed if apprehended. Worried by the soldier’s wild reaction to the incident, the speeding diver quickly speed off and left the scene of the crime. He ran helter-skelter to avoid arrest.

To the surprise of many, the driver turns out to be the Manager of Africell, a major private GSM mobile provider in Banjul. Africell Manager EL Makami was rendered speechless when apprehended by the police, following a hot chase.

Makami who was driving between 90 and 100 miles per hour was apprehended somewhere in Bijlo. He did everything humanely possible to escape arrest. EL Makami never stopped when he reached the police checkpoint.

Minutes later, police pulled him but he ignored the police backup team and he speeded towards Bijilo. Eyewitnesses at the scene say they suspect that the accused was drunk. That he dangerously drove towards the soldiers on standby, forcing them to abandon their guard posts.

When quizzed by the police as to why he was driving at such a high speed, the Africell boss said he was in desperation to reach his destination. He would not say what the rush was all about, but insists that he was in a hurry at the material time.

Reckless driving is common in The Gambia. Road accidents account for many deaths in this country. Many motorists have died due to reckless driving.

Local business Executives often violate traffic laws without receiving any formal citation from the police. This is attributable to their close ties with Government officials.

In a bid to avoid going to court, such officials dished out few couple of dalasis to traffic police, whose job is to keep the roads safe and out of dangerous driving. Poor pay and lack of promotion tempts traffic officials to receive bribes.

Since this matter touches on National Security-most importantly the life of the President, the police quickly filed charges against the Africell Manager, who was charged with four counts, ranging from reckless driving, rash and negligent act, thus about to take the lives of armed security men, failing to stop at a stop sign and driving above the stipulated speed limit.

A Magistrate Court in Kanifing found the Africell boss guilty as charged by the office of the Inspector General of police. The court imposed a fine of D30,000 Dalasis against the Africell boss or in default to serve one year in jail with hard labor.

EL Makami also had his Driver’s License confiscated. He was bared from driving public or private cars for a period of one year. The court also ordered that the accused to apply for a new License after one year of the revocation of his old license.

His chances of getting his driving privilege restored is entirely in the hands of the Police Commissioner in charge of Department of Motor Vehicles. The police chief would decide whether the accused is  fit to drive on the roads again. The police Commissioner is also empower to issue or deny license to the accused who is a non Gambian.

In his plea for mitigation, the confused looking Africell Manager pleaded for leniency. EL Makami informed the court that he was in haste and as such he regretted his actions. The Africell boss then assured the court that such an incident would never happened again for the rest of his life. “ I will never do it again. I’m appealing to your worship to tamper justice with mercy. I will never do it again.” he pleaded.

The court however, ignored Makami’s plea and ruled that it was about time to set an example to serve as a deterrent to other reckless drivers in the country. The presiding Magistrate rules that ignorance to the law was no excuse and therefore the accused was found guilty as charged. The Magistrate ruled the prosecution had proven its case beyond all reasonable doubts.

Earlier on, the presiding magistrate underscores the need for drivers to drive with care in order to safe their own lives and that of others. The Magistrate deplores the conduct of the accused and therefore sentenced him accordingly.

The embattled Africell Manager was given the option to either pay the fine of D30,000 Dalasis or go to Mile Two prison. Africell officials could be seen sympathizing with their boss shortly after the verdict was handed.

Many believe that the accused was given a chicken fine considering the gravity of the crime he was accused of. On the other hand, others say since the Africell boss was a first offender, the court ought to have exercised mercy with him. That his diving privilege should not have been sized. But the court rules that such a move was intended to teach a lesson to the accused and other reckless drivers.

Africell has been sponsoring many development projects in The Gambia. It also pledges its allegiance to the Jammeh Government, as the company openly supports the Government.

The Africell boss narrowly escapes death, as armed soldiers wanted to kill him during the hot chase. Some of the soldiers say the Africell boss deserved to die, but other soldiers warned against mob justice. The accused who happened to be the Africell Manager was handed to the police. His fate had been decided by the courts, as he faces D30,000 fine or in default to serve one year jail term.

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