Lawyer Questions Fraud Squad Officer in Senior Health Officials’ Criminal Trial

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By Yankuba Jallow

Senior Lawyer Lamin S. Camara cross-examined fraud squad officer Modou Gaye regarding evidence he gave before the court in the senior health officials’ economic crimes and theft trial.

Exhibit P11 is the cautionary statement the police said they obtained from Bala Kandeh. Modou Gaye said it was obtained in the presence of an independent witness called Modou Sowe. An independent witness means a person, who witnessed the process of statement taking, but must not be a member of the security services. The witness claimed that he does not know Modou Sowe and does not know where he works. The witness further claimed that Modou Sowe wrote his name in the statement by himself.

“Do you remember the time you called Modou Sowe to come and serve as an independent witness for you?” Counsel Camara asked.

 “I cannot remember the time,” the witness answered. 

 “Have you ever used Modou Sowe before as an independent witness?” Lawyer Camara asked.

 “I cannot remember using him as an independent witness severally or otherwise,” the witness answered. 

 “I am putting it to you that Modou Sowe was not present when obtaining the statement. He came late after when the statement was recorded,” Lawyer Camara said.

“That is not correct,” the witness answered.

 The witness was handed Exhibit P12 and in that statement, the independent witness was Baba Darboe.

“It is correct that the name Baba Darboe of Tallinding was written by the same author, who wrote M. Gaye of Fraud Squad,” Lawyer Camara asked. 

“That is correct,” the witness answered. 

“Compare exhibits P11 and 12. The handwriting on exhibits P11 and 12 both of Bala Kandeh are completely different,” Lawyer Camara said.

 “Yes, that is correct,” the witness answered 

 “Do you personally know Baba Darboe?” Camara asked. 

 “I don’t know him,” the witness answered. 

 “Do you know where he works?” Camara asked. 

 “No, I don’t,” the witness answered. 

 “Do you know whether he is literate in English?” Camara asked.

 “I don’t know,” the witness answered. 

 He was also given Exhibit P13 where the name Fabakary Kinteh was written as an independent witness. 

“Yes I know him,” the witness answered. 

 The witness said he does not know where Fabakary Kinteh works.

The witness admitted that amendments were done on the written text. The witness said he did not who endorse the statements since he was not the one who recorded it.

“I did not endorse it because I did not record it,” the witness answered.

 With question and answers, the Lawyer provided the witness evidence and then the witness admitted that Baba Darboe has been used in some other cases as an independent witness by the Fraud Squad. Some of the dates he was used as independent witness included 28 January 2023,

and 24 April 2023.

“It was you on 24 April 2023 who wrote his name on exhibit P14?” Lawyer Camara told the witness.

“That is correct,” the witness answered.

Exhibits P15, P16 and P17 all have no named independent witness.

 The case was adjourned to the 8th of July 2024 at noon for a new witness to be called.