By Modou S. Joof
A lower court in Banjul, Gambia‘s capital, has sent to jail Mr. Sait Matty Jaw, a blogger and an administrator at the government-owned University, over allegations of “conspiracy”, “failure to register a business”, and “disobeying statutory duty”.
FPI understands the charges stem from a research on “good governance and corruption” that he and two others: a Ghanian, Seth Yaw Kandeh and, a Nigerian, Olufemi Erinle Titus were involved. They’ve all denied the charges but have been remanded.
On Wednesday, the Banjul Magistrates’ Court, also called BMC, heard from a State lawyer, Abdourahman Bah, that the three had in October 2014 conspired to commit an offence by “operating and carrying out business without registration”.
The same month, they were engaged in the business of collation of data (information) for FACTS International Ghana Ltd, an Accra-based company, without registering it as required by law, the prosecutor said. He also alleges that the three disobeyed the [Gambia’s] Statistics Act and undertook a data collection without authorization from the country’s Bureau of Statistics, GBoS.
Their lawyer, Segga Gaye, filed for bail but Magistrate Samsideen Conteh, presiding, has set that aside for ruling on Christmas Eve.
Jaw, a young Gambian gender and human rights activist and the publisher of The Campaigner, who was earlier detained with Kandeh and Titus, on November 5 this year, was released without charge a week later.
His arrest attracted widespread criticisms of The Gambia Government on social media, including the #FreeSaitMattyJaw Facebook page, when he was being held beyond the legal limit of 72 hours without charge.
Students For Liberty (SFL) had explained that Jaw was being held for alleged involvement with Gallup Inc, an organisation that provides data-driven news based on U.S. and world polls, daily tracking and public opinion research.
“Sait Matty Jaw, a lecturer at the Humanities and Social Science Department at the University of the Gambia, signed up to work with Gallup to conduct survey research in the Gambia recently along with many other students and civil servants,” wrote .