Dr. Sidibeh continues testimony in Gumbo Touray’s trial
Monday, August 27, 2012
Sidibeh, the second defence witness in the criminal trial involving the state
against Gumbo A. Touray, the former director of International Affairs at the
University of The Gambia (UTG), on Friday continued giving his testimony before
Principal Magistrate Taiwo Ade Alagbe of the Banjul Magistrates’ Court.
In his evidence, Dr. Sidibeh informed the court that he joined the UTG upon invitation from colleagues like Dr. Saja Taal, who was a member and chairman of the UTG Governing Council, in 2003.
He said that he wrote a document, which is still at the faculty of Social Sciences and the reason is that since the current vice chancellor assumed office in 2009 there have been so many abnormalities in the UTG. He explained that one of the abnormalities is that newly recruited students do take matriculation oath, but that this has not happened since the VC, Professor Kah came. He further said that the students’ results are no longer reviewed by the senate, as it is dormant, despite senate being the highest academic authority in the University.
According to the witness, he was a member of the UTG Governing Council and was duly and legitimately elected in 2005 until 2011 when he resigned; that he was part of the Governing Council when the current vice chancellor was appointed.
Dr. Sidibeh further explained that when the vacancy was advertised, several people applied from abroad including Professor Kah, but that the Research Committee never met to assess the credentials of Professor Kah. Since the Research Committee did not meet to review his (Professor Kah’s) credentials, he informed, it was passed to the Council for approval but that he being a member of the Governing Council by then, did not see Professor Kah’s CV along with others who had applied. He further explained that before the process was done it was announced to the Governing Council that Professor Kah had been appointed.
Dr. Sidibeh went on to tell court that he was in the Council when Kojo was appointed, adding that Kojo was appointed three months before the Governing Council approved his appointment subject to availability of funds. He further added that Kojo was not interviewed by him but by three members of the Council, like Bai Matarr Drammeh, Dr. Omar Jah and Muhammed Jammeh.
He identified defence exhibit 4 as a letter he wrote about the UTG describing it as the University of ‘Mboka’, meaning university of relatives, saying that he wrote it on 4th December 2010 in his capacity as an academic staff and based on his observation since the current vice chancellor Professor Kah took over the management of the UTG, and that he wrote it to make an alert.
He stated that all the points he raised in his letter were confirmed in defence exhibit 1 (the NDEA report). He told the courtthat he is neither related to Gumbo Touray norProfessor Kah, adding that he wrote defence exhibit 4 before Gumbo’s case of writing came into being. He said contracts at the UTG are awarded unilaterally, full of open victimization as some are given 6 months, some 2 years and others 3 years, describing it as very inconsistent and that now he is a victim alongside four other outstanding staff.
The witness said he was aware of the suspension of the accused by the vice chancellor and that he was opposed to it because he knew the implication. The VC,he said, hastened to quote Section 9.8 that empowered him to terminate but that Section 9.5 also talks about the matter to be referred to the disciplinary committee of the UTG.
Dr Sidibeh explained that his resignation from the UTG Governing Council was because he lost faith in the manner in which matters were being conducted in the UTG, that Professor Kah, who should be answerable to the governing council has powers that supercede that of the Council. Dr Sidibeh went on to describe the current management of the UTG as disappointing, embarrassing, disheartening, that he is not impressed by Professor Kah’s management and that his qualification does not commensurate with his performance.
At that juncture, the case was adjourned to 28th August 2012 for cross-examination.
Author: Fatou Sowe