Professor Kah cross-examined
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
counsel for Gumbo A. Touray, Lawyer Badou SM Conteh, Monday at the Banjul
Magistrates’ Court presided over by Principal Taiwo Ade Alagbe, started the
cross-examination of Professor Muhammadou O. Kah, the vice chancellor of the
University of The Gambia (UTG) and the sixth prosecution witness (PW6) in the
criminal trial involving the state against Gumbo A. Touray, the former director
of International Affairs at the UTG.
During his testimony under cross-examination, the witness told the court that the University of the Gambia was established by an act called the University Act. He added that in the said Act, the position of a president is mentioned but it is not mentioned in defence exhibit 2 (the condition of service for senior staff at the UTG).
According to him, he was not appointed as the president of the UTG but as the vice chancellor that is referred to as president in some countries. Professor Kah said that the comments stated in the NDEA report page 19, which he read aloud to the hearing of the court, made by the chairman of the UTG Governing Council, Dr. Mamadou Tangara were incorrect. He also denied terminating the accused person’s contract on the basis that his contract expired and could not be renewed.
The appointment letter of the accused dated 16th May 2007, was admitted in evidence and marked as defence exhibit 3. He further denied mismanaging the UTG funds as claimed by the defence lawyer, that he seriously mismanaged UTG funds and this was confirmed in three entailed, separate and independent reports. He said it was absolutely not correct that UTG vacancies were not advertised; that most of the people he appointed were his relatives and friends. He noted that he saw the letter written by Dr. Sidibeh, a former member of the UTG Governing Council and he identified the said letter in court.
The defence counsel applied to tender the said letter in evidence as exhibit and it was admitted and marked as defence exhibit 4. Kah also stated that defence exhibit 4 was written while Dr. Sidibeh was in the Governing Council and he (Sidibeh) expressed his opinion. He further stated that the UTG Act does not include MDI and the Gambia College to be in the UTG and further denied receiving allowance from MDI while admitting that he only receives allowance from the Gambia College because he is the one overseeing the place.
Professor Kah was also asked by the defence counsel to bring his appointment letter to the court but he disclosed that his appointment as VC was not on trial and could not bring the said letter to the court because it’s confidential. At that juncture, the defence counsel applied that the appointment letter be produced in the court as it is relevant and very vital to the case as it will make the court understand the terms and conditions of the witness’ appointment.
The police prosecutor, Superintendent Sainey Joof objected on the grounds that the said document is confidential and needs not to be brought to the court. The presiding magistrate in his ruling ordered the prosecution to produce the said letter, stating that the witness is a public officer and such documents are termed as public documents.
Professor Kah further stated that the American University in Nigeria confirmed him as a professor in 2007 and that he did not write books that is why none of them are in the UTG library. At that juncture, the case was adjourned to 20th June 2012, for continuation of cross-examination.
Author: Fatou Sowe & Sheriff Janko