Following our publication of a story yesterday in which Magistrate Moses Richards of the Kanifing Magistrates’ Court was quoted to have warned the National Intelligence Agency and Police to desist from interfering in civil matters, the former yesterday reacted to the magistrate’s statement.
Below is the full text of the statement issued by the NIA:
Due note is taken of your News papers edition of 30th August 2007 captioned “Magistrate Richards Warns NIA, Police to stay off Civil Matters.”
May I please point out that the case in question was not reported to the NIA as insinuated in the purported judgement delivered by Magistrate Richards at Kanifing Court on the 29th August 2007. I would also like to observe that in almost all criminal matters involving financial transactions, there is always an element of civil transaction; hence the need for parties to resort to civil proceedings where amicable resolution failed.
Indeed the Director General NIA has warned members of staff of this Agency to desist from handling and interfering with civil cases.
Information of an alleged illegal sale of electricity meter came to the attention of the NIA through a reliable source on the 21st April 2007. Swift action was taken by an NIA Operative to foil the transaction that ultimately led to the arrest of the parties involved. They were taken to the NIA Headquarters for further interrogation where one of the suspects was subsequently detained. The detention of the suspect was not beyond 48hrs. The interrogation led to the recovery of 115 electricity meters from another Gambian [name withheld].
Investigations revealed among other things that the said meters totalling 116 were imported into the Gambia for marketing but NAWEC being the only outlet failed to approve their purchase and advised the importer to either destroy or return the meters to their origin. It was further discovered that the innocent buyer was coerced to buy the meter since he was anxious to get one.
It should be pointed out that investigation revealed further that the culprit having failed to get NAWEC approval to purchase the meters and contrary to NAWEC’s advice that he should either burn or return them to their origin, he privately and secretly decided to sell them to people assuring them that the meter could be interfaced with NAWEC system. One of these meters was selling between D2, 000=00 to D18, 000=00. This transaction tantamount to Economic Crime and the NIA is mandated by law to investigate such criminal activities.
It is therefore regrettable that His Worship Magistrate Richards was not adequately briefed on the circumstances of the case relating to the arrest and interrogation of the parties at NIA Headquarters. The NIA was investigating an economic crime matter and not settling amicably a civil suit as His Worship was made to believe. The money paid to the NIA could be used as exhibit in the prosecution of an alleged economic crime. Indeed we must be mindful that there are many sides to the law!!!