UTG VC earns D3.5M per annum Witness tells court
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Lamin J. Gassama, an NDEA officer attached to the investigation unit of the Kanifing NDEA Station Tuesday told the Banjul Magistrates Court presided over by Acting Principal Magistrate Taiwo Ade Alagbe, that their investigations revealed that the vice chancellor of the University of The Gambia (UTG) earns D3.5 million per annum as salary.
Gassama revealed this while giving evidence as the fourth prosecution witness (PW4) in the criminal trial involving the state against Gumbo Touray, the former director of international affairs at UTG, who is standing trial for giving false information to a public servant at the said court.
In his testimony, Gassama informed the court that he knows the accused and that in the month of April 2011, they received a directive from the Office of the President, to look into certain allegations made by the accused against the vice councilor of UTG to ascertain the facts or otherwise.
According to him, his boss, the director of Intelligence and Investigations instructed him to take up investigations in the matter and that was how he came in touch with the accused.
PW4 disclosed that during the course of the investigations, the accused showed him the petition he (the accused) wrote and signed. He added that he will be able to identify it, which he did and the prosecution led by Superintendant Joof applied to tender it in evidence as an exhibit. The defence did not raise objection and it was admitted and marked as Exhibit A.
Gassama said the issues in the letter (Exhibit A) include the high salary of the vice councilor and other benefits he receives is not in the interest of UTG. He further said that the investigation revealed that the vice councilor earns D3.5million per annum excluding his home rental fees of US$10, 000, his children’s tution fees, the salary of his maid, as well as electricity and water supply.
He stated that they conducted the investigation as per each issue raised by the accused in the petition and they filed a 100-page investigation report with 25 bullets points finding. PW4 further stated that during the investigation, the accused was available at any time for clarification. He added that the accused gave a statement to them as well.
During cross-examination by the defence counsel, lawyer PCO Secka, Gassama told the court that the investigation report was handed over to the police prosecution. When asked by the defence counsel whether if he (PW4) is given the report he can retrieve the said report, Gassama replied in the affirmative.
At that juncture the defence counsel applied for the witness to be given time to bring the report so that the court can come to the depth of the issue raised by the accused in Exhibit A.
The prosecutor objected, arguing that to get the report in court does not warrant an adjournment and that the report will be tendered if the time comes. The prosecutor added that the application of the defence if granted would amount to the defence giving directives as to how the prosecution should conduct its case.
The defence counsel replied that he doesn’t see any other proper person (witness) to tender the report apart from the PW4 who led the investigators and wrote the report.
In the court’s ruling, it overruled the objection of the prosecution and stated that the only proper witness through who the report can be tendered is PW4 and the prosecution has not told the court about the prejudice it will cause them if the PW4 tenders the report.
The presiding magistrate further ordered for the witness to bring the report on the next adjourned date. Hearing continues on the 25th of August 2011.
Author: Fatou Sowe