Defence closes case in Rongo, Efry Mbye trial
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Segga Gaye, Defence counselforthe 1st accusedperson Monday announced the closure of defence in the criminal trial involving the state against Momodou Rongo Jarju and Abdoulie Mbye alias Efry Mbye, at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court presided over by Principal Magistrate Taiwo Ade Alagbe. This announcement was made after the fifth defence witness (DW5) ended his testimony.
In his testimony, Alhagie Saidy, DW5, a resident of Banjulinding told the court that during his stay in the village he used to move with the first accused. Responding to questions posed to him by the defence counsel, DW5 stated that the 1st accused is standing in the dock because part of his land was taken by Eric Tunde Janneh and his people.
He further stated that the council of elders and the VDC wrote to the president explaining that they do not need Eric Tunde’s leadership anymore in Banjulinding. He said that he is also the social secretary to the VDC. The witness told the court that he saw the letter that was sent to the president regarding the Alkaloship in Banjulinding.
When asked about exhibit A, DW5 answered in the affirmative, saying that the letter is about matters happening in Banjulinding. He added that he has thumb printed the letter and he later identified it on the exhibit. DW5 denied the allegation that Rongo prepared the said letter, saying thatthe 1st accused is not responsible for preparing such a letter. He added that it is the council of elders that is responsible for the letter and it was Baboucarr Jeng who prepared the said letter.
When asked if he knew the content of the letter, he answered in the affirmative, adding that he is educated. DW5 adduced that he was not tricked to thumbprint, stressing that he knows the consequences of thumb printing a false document. DW5 revealed that he was detained at the NDEA for a few days where he gave a statement and was later asked to go home. He stated that he was also warned to stop moving with the people he mingles with and to mind his business. “It came to me as a big surprise that my name is not in the investigation file,” he said.
Given exhibit B to identify, DW5 disclosed that he first saw it with Baboucarr Jeng and the second letter was first seen with the council of elders which he is part of. The witness disclosed that a meeting was summoned and the turnout was quite impressive. Malang Badjie who called the meeting stated that there is a letter from the Office of the President. He added that the letter was given to Malang Njie who read it out and later handed it over to one Kalilu Bayo who refused to read it.
He adduced that the said letter was given to Rongo to read and he did so. He further adduced that one Ansu Colley stood up and said that the content of the letter is what they want to hear.
According to him, Imam Yahya Bah (PW1) also intervened and said it is false that the letter came from the Office of the President. The witness objected to the statement that Rongo wrote the letter, even though its content is true.
When asked by ASP Sanyang what role he played as the social secretary, the witness stated that he was responsible for calling those needed by the council of elders in the village. He noted he never took the minutes of the council of elders meetings. ASP Sanyang asked the witness how he was able to justify that he thumb printed the letter exhibit A. DW5 replied that his name and surname have been closely observed and that he could recognise them as a literate.
The prosecutor however put it to him that it is false that he (DW5) thumb printed the said exhibit A. When asked if it is true that he (DW5) took someone before Eric Tunde Janneh in a land dispute and it was resolved in his favour, the witness replied in the affirmative. ASP Sanyang then put it to him that, it is false then that Eric Tunde is not confiscating land from anybody. DW5 stated that it is false.
DW5 disclosed that he together with Malang Badjie dispatched the letters to State House, adding that Malang was called to collect the letter from State House together with him, and this he said compelled Malang to call a meeting when Eric was the alkalo. When asked if it is true that he was called to State House for reconciliation of the letter, he replied in the affirmative.
ASP Sanyang put it to the defence witness that he defied the
leadership of Eric Tunde and this as a result made him to recognise a meeting
without alerting the alkalo, and this resulted to chaos in the village amongst
them. He was then shown exhibit C, and he said it is his first
time of seeing such. The prosecution then put it to him that it is the same
document he identified his image on and is the same Rongo sent to Pa Malick
Faye of the Daily Observer.
The witness objected on the grounds that he has never seen
the document. He mentioned Ausu Colley, Malang Badjie, Ismaila Jarju, Pa Camara
and Pa Sanneh as those that instructed Baboucarr Jeng to write the letter. “I
did not ask any other person to write,” he concluded.
At this juncture the defence announced closure of its case. The presiding magistrate then ordered for Malang Badgie to appear in court on the next adjourned as a result of the frequent appearance of his name in the testimony. Hearing continues on the 2nd July 2012.
Author: Zainab Faal