By Kemeseng Sanneh (Kexx)
Senior Lawyer Lamin S. Camara on Tuesday, 7 November objected to the admissibility of two (2) receipts filed by the lawyer representing AbdoulayeThiam.
Abdoulaye Thiam, a Senegalese business tycoon, sued Aisha Fatty, a Gambia businesswoman and the Inspector General of Police for the recovery of monies and properties including vehicles he gave the businesswoman during the pendency of their intimate relationship.
The first receipt filed by Thiam’s lawyer was for One Hundred Thousand Euros (€100,000) and the second receipt was for Fifty Thousand Euros (€50,000).
The case resumed for the first time on Tuesday after the summer vacation before Hon. Justice Ebrima Jaiteh of the High Court.
Counsel Lamin A. Ceesay, appearing for AbdoulayeThiam, informed the court that they have the last and final document on the plaintiff’s list of additional documents, which they intend to tender. He stated that the documents are among the documents the plaintiff intends to rely on in the trial.
Counsel Lamin Ceesay further explained that these documents consist of receipts amounting to €100,000 and €50,000, both signed by Aisha Fatty (1st Defendant).
Lawyer Lamin S. Camara, representing Aisha Fatty, indicated his objection to the admissibility of the document arguing that there is no evidence to prove that the receipts were signed by Aisha Fatty. In response, Counsel L. Ceesay insisted that the receipts were signed by Aisha Fatty. Lawyer Ceesay further informed the court that they had filed a notice to produce the original copies of the receipts, which were in the possession of Aisha Fatty.
Counsel L.S Camara reacted to the documents sought to be tendered by Abdoulaye Thiam’s Lawyer, stating: “I have the notice to produce dated 24th July 2023 issued to her (Aisha Fatty) by United Foreign Exchange Bureau Limited. The said receipts are dated 10th and 12th September 2021 respectively. My lord, the law requires that a person on whom the notice to produce is served should produce the document requests in the notice to produce for trial. The notice to produce dated 24th July 2023 did not specify the law under which they are coming. But notice to produce evidence is stipulated in the laws of civil proceedings. However, my lord, the law requires that the document sought to produce is in possession or power of against whom it is sought to be tendered.”
Lawyer Camara referred the court to Section 102 of the Evidence Act explaining that the document should be in the possession or power of the person on whom the notice was served. Counsel L.S Camara submitted that the original receipts should be with United Foreign Exchange Bureau Limited and not Aisha Fatty.
“My Lord, the Bureaus give you a copy and they keep the original receipts and you cannot rely on secondary evidence to prove the content of the original simply because the notice has been served on the 1st defendant (Aisha Fatty). We respectfully urge this honourable court to reject the documents and mark them accordingly,” Counsel L.S Camara submitted.
In response, Counsel Lamin Ceesay argued that Aisha Fatty has a joint issue with AbdoulayeThiam regarding the €100,000 and €50,000 given to her. He referred the court to paragraphs 29, 30, and 31 of Aisha Fatty’s statement of defence, stating that she has already acknowledged and accepted the €150,000 in her statement.
Counsel Ceesay emphasised that Aisha Fatty did not deny receiving the money and even signed the receipts.
“My Lord, we are completely on the opposite side when it comes to the Counsel’s submission that when you receive money you are given a copy not the original. That does not happen anywhere in the world. The 1st defendant (Aisha Fatty) did not deny receiving the money and she even signed,” Counsel L. Ceesay argued.
Regarding the notice to produce, Counsel Ceesay explained that it is simply to inform the other party that they have an item in their possession that should be submitted to the court. He clarified that it does not compel the 1st defendant to bring the item to court, but rather informs her that the receipt is required. Counsel Ceesay referred the court to the Law of Evidence written by the Hon. Chief Justice Hassan B. Jallow from pages 175 to 176 in support his argument.
Counsel L.S Camara replying on points of law stated that the authorities cited by his learned friend (Counsel LaminCeesay) were not helpful to their case. He argued that even if the facts are admitted, any documentary evidence tendered must still meet the requirements of admissibility.
The presiding Judge, Justice Jaiteh adjourned the case to 14 November 2023 to rule on the matter.