In the state theft case: Italian opens defense
Thursday, May 22, 2008
The theft case involving Bakary Camara, Manlafi Sanyang and Dominico Fedeli, an Italian national, on Tuesday resumed at the Banjul Magistrates' Court, before Senior Magistrate Kayode Olajubutu, with the third accused, Fedeli, recounting his defense testimony.
Led by his counsel, Lawyer Tambedu, Dominico Fedeli told the court that he had been invited to the Gambia by President Yahya A J J Jammeh, through the Gambian ambassador to Zambia, in 2005. He said that on arrival in the country, he had a contract with Kanilia Family Farm, and that in his contract document it was indicated that he was supposed to be allocated an office, accommodation and a vehicle to facilitate his work, nothing that the contract was signed, on behave of Kanilia Farm, by Bakary Camara. Dominico further said that it was also indicated on the contract document that if the contract had ended he should vacate both the office and his accommodation, pointing out that nothing was said about the vehicle.
Dominico told the court that a few months later, his contract was terminated by the farm and he was asked to vacate the office and the residence, an order he said he obeyed. Asked by lawyer Tambedu why he did not return the vehicle, the accused said it was left with him as a compensation for the termination of his contract.
He said he was also given D96, 000, which he said he had received from Bakary Camara, who he said did issue him a receipt to that effect. The accused went on to say that the farm gave his wife a vehicle, but that when his contract was terminated, he returned it back to the farm, noting that the only thing he had in his possession from Kanilai Farm was the black Crandon, which was part of his compensation for the termination of the contract.
He told the court that he later had a contract with Taf Holding in Brufut, and when that finished, he had another one in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania. He disclosed that he had the intention of given the vehicle, black Crandon, to charity or returns it to the Kanilia farm. But he said Bakary Camara advised him that the president might take offense from that.
Mr Fedeli said that since the termination of his contract in October 2005, there was no transfer of ownership of the vehicle to him until early this year, when he was asked to proceed with the transfer.
He told the court that he had another personal vehicle that he wanted to sell, and that one day he received a phone call from someone who indicated interest in it. He said that he directed them to his house, and when they arrived, he showed them the vehicle, but they said they needed the black Corando. Henceforth, he said, he began to be suspicious. He said that the guys later identified them selves as personnel from the Serious Crime Unite of the Police.
At that juncture, the case was adjourned to Thursday.
Author: by Modou Kanteh & Sanna Jawara