Gumbo Touray opens defence
Thursday, July 19, 2012
Gumbo Ali Touray, the former director of International Affairs and Information at the University of The Gambia (UTG), who is standing one count criminal charge of giving false information to public officer, before the Banjul Magistrates’ Court, presided over by Principal Magistrate Taiwo Ade Alagbe, Wednesday started to give his defence testimony.
Giving his testimony led by the defence counsel Lawyer Badou SM Conteh, the accused informed the court that he lives in Kotu. Giving his academic background, the accused said he got first degree, bachelor with honours in Planning, a diploma in Planning and Management from the University of Lnucknow in India, another diploma in Planning and Building from the Bowl Sentrum Institute in the Netherlands, and his PHD from the University of London; adding that he had certificates from various institutions in the United States, Japan, Germany and The Gambia as well.
According to him he worked as a civil servant in The Gambia until 1994; that he had served as director of State Land Department and as principal planner of the Department of Physical Planning. He said from 1994 to 1996 he worked as the coordinator of a project in Tanzania and from 1999 to 2002 he served as an adviser at the UNDP Office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He said his appointment in Addis was extended for two years but he decided to come and join the UTG, that he was glad to do so since it was established by the president for the first time in the country. He further stated that he was also an adviser at Mantane Institute in Ghana from 2006 to 2008.
The accused informed the court that he was with the UTG from 2002 until the time of his suspension in 2011 and that he was holding the position of the director of International Affairs and Information while serving the UTG for six (6) years. Touray said he was among the lecturers in the UTG, and he was appointed by the UTG council on a three-year contract, subjected to renewal on notice by either parties. He added that he was not informed according to the provision of his contract about any notice before non-renewal of his contract but instead there was a general notice for all staff of the UTG to reapply.
He further said that the National Assembly Select Committee on Education visited the UTG and they invited senior officers of the UTG to comment on state of affairs of the UTG, and during the meeting he expressed his opinion on the management of the UTG purely for national interest.
Touray said that the during the their meeting with the Assembly Select Committee on Education he was not the only one invited to make comments; that others expressed their views, and he was asked to put his statement in writing. He told the court that he did not write a petition to the president in his capacity as president but as the chancellor of the UTG and did not mention about the VC appointing his relatives but the other members of UTGsuch as Dr Sidibeh wrote it.
He identified defence exhibit 3 as his letter of appointment signed by the UTG registrar. He further told the court that at the time of the expiration of his contract he was under suspension for three months by the VC while informing the court that it is only the Council that has appointment and termination authority in the UTG, but that his termination was done by the VC during his suspension.
Both the suspension letter signed by the VC and the termination letters signed by Jenung Manneh for the VC were admitted in evidence as defence exhibits. The former UTG staff explained that his suspension came two days after his address to the Assembly’s Select Committee on Education on the problems and issues of the university.
Touray explained that his duties include the development of international linkages between the University of the Gambia other universities, saying that at the time of his appointment there were only 3 linkages, but that at the time of his termination there were 15 linkages. Touray told the court that he also introduced the UTG newsletter and served as the editor-in-chief, but that it seized publication since he left. A sample of the newsletter was tendered and admitted in evidence and marked as a defence exhibit.
At that juncture, the case was adjourned to 23rd July 2012 for continuation of defence.
Author: Fatou Sowe