Sunday, March 26, 2023

Defence Cross-examines PW2 in Former SG Sabally’s Trial


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By Rohey Jadama Antouman Gaye, defence counsel for Mr. Momodou Sabally, formerModou Sabally SG Secretary General, Head of the Civil Service and Minister of Presidential Affairs , yesterday, 13th April, 2015 cross-examined Mr. Sulayman Jatta, the “Alkali” (village head) of Bijilo and secondprosecution witness (PW2), in the ongoing trial involving his client before Justice Emmanuel Amadi of the Special Criminal Division of the Banjul high court. Mr. Sabally is facing eight charges ranging from two counts of ‘Economic Crimes’, three counts of ‘Abuse of Office’, two counts of ‘Neglect of Official Duty’ and a single count of ‘Giving False Information to a Public Officer’. He, however, pleaded not guilty to all the charges. The State was represented by the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Hadi Saleh Bakum. Continuing with the cross examination, the defence lawyer asked PW2 whether Assan Ndoye mentioned any price for the vehicles. The witness responded in the negative. “Did you ask him?” enquired the defence counsel. The witness responded in the negative. “When you were together with PW1 and Assan, did Assan mention any price to PW1 for the vehicles?” The witness responded in the negative. The witness was asked whether Assan produced any invoice for the vehicles. “No, but I saw Assan giving an envelope to PW1 which he said contains the proposals for the vehicle,” answered the witness. “In your statement at the NIA you did not mention the name Fatou Mass Jobe, the former Tourism and Culture Minister?” The witness responded that he was not asked. “The last time you were here nobody asked you to mention her name?” quizzed the defence counsel. The witness said he was asked questions step by step, unlike when he was at the NIA. The witness was asked whether Ndoye showed him any contract for the sale of the vehicles. He responded in the negative. When asked further as to whether he asked Ndoye for it, he responded in the negative. Pw2 said he was introduced to Mr. Ndoye by Mr. Jallow who told him that the former brought the vehicles to the Gambia for sale to the president. “I put it to you that the vehicles were not meant for sale to the president?” said the defence lawyer.   The witness insisted that they were meant for sale. “I put it to you that Ndoye brought these vehicles to donate them to the president?” “No he brought them in order to sell them to the president,” answered the witness. Under re-examination, the DPP asked the witness whether Jallow was his only source. The Defence Counsel objected to the question. The trial judge interjected and asked DPP whether he asked a follow-up question when PW2 mentioned Jallow in his evidence in chief. The DPP responded in the negative. He added that the witness mentioned another source in his evidence. This prompted the trial judge to go through the records. After having spent about 30 minutes searching for the said question, the judge said “DPP is asking a new issue and you are putting me into confusion.” The DPP then withdrew the said question. PW3’s testimony Modou Sowe, a police officer attached to major crime unit at police headquarters, also testified as the third prosecution witness (PW3). He told the court that he recognized the accused person; that he was part of the panel of investigators at the NIA that investigated the case involving the accused person. He adduced that during the investigation he was instructed to obtain a cautionary statement from the accused. Pw3 told the court that he invited an independent witness, who is one Ebrima Fatty of Serrekunda. He said he took out the cautionary statement. This evoked laughter in the court room prompting the judge to enquire from the witness what he meant by that statement. Before the witness could reply, the judge said to him “A police officer knows what he is talking about and you are confusing everyone”. Mr. Sowe said he read the warnings on the cautionary to the accused person and asked him whether he would write his statement. He said the accused responded in the positive and wrote his own statement, signed it and he endorsed it. He further told the court that on the 13th of August 2014 he was again instructed to obtain another cautionary statement from the accused and that he followed the same procedure as mentioned earlier. He said he recorded three voluntary statements as well. When asked by DPP whether he would recognise those statements when showed to him, he responded in the positive, adding that his name and rank are on it. DPP applied to tender them as exhibits and there was no objection from the defence. They were then admitted as exhibits and marked accordingly. At this juncture, the DPP applied for an adjournment to interview the witness. Defence counsel Gaye objected to this application, arguing that when a witness has been called to the court and took an oath, he/she is the witness of the court not the DPP’s witness and that as such, that witness can no longer be interviewed. DPP maintained that the witness is still his witness, which was denied by the trial judge who shook his head in disagreement and saying “ I disagree with you DPP.’’ At this stage, the DPP told the court that he has a matter in another court. The trial judge, in his ruling, said he is adjourning the case only because the DPP has said that he has another case now. The case was adjourned for continuation today (Tuesday) at 11am.  ]]>

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