In ex-agric officials’ trial: NARI boss denies being arrested
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
director general of the National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI), Dr
Babucarr Ousman Jobe has denied suggestion by the defense counsel Lamin Camara
that he (Jobe) was arrested by the National Intelligence Agents (NIA) and later
Dr Jobe said he was only questioned by the Fertiliser Commission in connection with a report sent to the Ministry of Agriculture by Dr Mustapha Ceesay, the 7th accused person, regarding the effectiveness of the Indonesian fertilizer.
Dr Jobe said when he was on GRTS to talk about fertilizer, he said only three things: he defined fertilizer, emphasized the centrality of fertilizer use in the attainment of food security and the timing of fertilizer application, but that he (Jobe) never said anything about the Indonesian fertilizer.
After defense finished cross examining Dr Jobe, the prosecution ushered in a new witness, Alieu Tijan Savage, an assistant supply officer. He told the court that he was aware of the importation of the fertilizer in 2009. Savage said he received the total of 80,705 bags of fertilizers in all.
At that juncture the prosecution intended to tender two bags of fertilizer and one empty bag as an exhibit but the defense counsel objected to the tendering of the items on the ground that the prosecution did not follow the proper procedures as required by law. The trial judge over ruled the objection raised by the defense and went ahead to admit the two bags of fertilizers and the empty one.
When the witness finished his evidence-in-chief, he was crossed examined by Ida Drammeh, the defense counsel for Awa Saye -Touray Under cross examination, Savage admitted that the store keepers did complain that the store had problems and that only part of the roof was repaired. The witness said the store keepers have no business with the importation of the fertilizer and that store keepers work only on instructions from the ministry.
Savage further agreed with the defense counsel that when the fertilizer arrived in the country, Ms Touray was on leave and that it is a practice for Ms Tourayto invite the NIA and the police to be present at the off- loading of any consignment arriving in the country. The witness also said that the fertilizer came late in the country and it is not a duty of storekeepers to test and inspect fertilizer.
At that juncture, the presiding judge adjourned the case to Tuesday, 17 July 2012, for the other counsels to cross examine the witness.
Author: Modou Kanteh