Saturday, December 9, 2023

Former Gambian Ambassador to France Continues Defence


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By Mamadou Dem 

Ousman Badjie, a former Gambian ambassador to France yesterday, 25th November, continued with his evidence-in-chief Ousman Badjiebefore Justice Simeon Abi of the High Court in Banjul.

Mr. Badjie is standing trial on economic crimes and negligence of official duty. It is alleged that Mr. Badjie while serving as head of the Gambian mission in France failed to pursue a one million one hundred and thirty-four thousand dalasi being stolen by one Faisal Bojang. He, however, denied any wrongdoing.

Continuing with his defence, Mr. Badjie, who also served as a former minister of Interior as well as Works in the APRC government, told the Court that Mr. Faisal Bojang was recalled following a letter they received which was addressed to the latter and copied to the deputy head of mission; that Mr. Bojang was recalled home and his ticket was bought.

“I would recognize the letter that was addressed to him. The first letter was dated February 17, 2014 which was addressed to the head of chancery in Paris, France, and a copy to Mr. Bojang himself. And the second letter was dated February 5, 2014 which was addressed to Mr. Bojang and copied to the head of Gambian mission in Paris,” he told the Court.

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Upon identifying the said letters, his counsel, lawyer Lamin S. Camara applied to tender them as exhibits without objection from state counsel, Abdourahman Mariama Yusuf. The said letters were therefore admitted as defence exhibits.

When asked by his counsel what defence exhibit A  was all about, the former ambassador  responded: “Exhibit A  was dated June 4, 2013 addressed to Mr. Faisal Bojang, senior finance officer, which was about his (Faisal)  posting and also addressed to me as the head of the mission. While exhibit E was addressed to the head of chancery, the Gambian mission in Paris, and by the time exhibit E was sent, there was a head of chancery who was Mrs. Adelle Marie Sowe.”

The accused further told the Court that the reason why exhibit E was not addressed to him was in accordance with the Foreign Services Rules 0229  2012, which stipulated that the finance associate is responsible for all disbursements and review of all financial transactions which should be controlled by the head of chancery.

He said no reason was given for the recall of Faisal Bojang as far as defence exhibit E1 was concerned which was addressed to Mr. Bojang.

Hearing continues on the 2nd of December.

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