Financial Manager Continues Testimony in Health Officials’ Economic Crimes & Theft Trial

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By Kemeseng Sanneh (Kexx)

Amadou Badjie, an administrator and finance manager of the Health Promotion and Development Organisation (HePDO) on Monday continued his testimony in the economic crimes and theft trial involving three (3) senior health officials.

The accused persons are Muhammadou Lamin Jaiteh – Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Balla Kandeh – Programme Manager of the Malaria Control Programme and Omar Malleh Ceesay – the Executive Director of HePDO. They are charged with eighteen (18) criminal charges. The charges are Official Corruption, Disobedience of Statutory Duty, Conspiracy, Economic Crimes, Forgery and Theft.

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The witness testified earlier before the court that he was familiar with Muhammed Sissoko and Basirou Phillot because he made payments in their names through cheques amounting to Four Million, One Hundred and Thirty-Eight Thousand, Five Hundred (D4,138,500).

When questioned about how he could prepare cheques for individuals he had not met, Badjie explained that he had been instructed to contact Lamin Jarju, a former Deputy Programmes Manager of the National Malaria Control Program to collect and deliver the cheques on his behalf. Badjie also mentioned that Lamin Jarju was overseeing the project as he was the subject matter specialist.

The witness said the Executive Director (Omar Ceesay) had informed the procurement committee that Lamin Jarju would be involved in coordinating the studies because of his expertise and also his position as the deputy programmes manager. He explained the process of raising cheques to make payments which include signing of contracts, request for payments and approval by the Executive Director before a cheque will be raised.

The witness was shown some exhibits which were contracts between HePDO and the consultants, their curriculum vitae (CVs) and some copies of cheques. He confirmed them as the copies of the CVs of consultants at the HePDO procurement committee.

The case was adjourned to today at 10 am for cross-examination of the witness by the defence counsel.