Defence team in the economic crime trial against Sira Wally Ndow-Njai and 9 other former top government officials, yesterday started cross-examination of detective sergeant Alhagie K Manneh, the second prosecution witness in the case before Justice O Otaba at the High Court in Banjul.
Madam Njai alongside Momodou O.S Badjie, Fafa Sanyang, Cherno Marena, Seedy Kanyi, Muntaga Momodou Sallah, Momodou Taal, Louie Moses Mendy, Noah Touray and Madun Sanyang are under trial on charges of conspiracy, neglect of official, disobedience of statutory duty, and destroying evidence.
During cross-examination by lawyer S M Tambadou, counsel for Madam Njai the witness told the court that he is attached to the major crime unit of the Gambia Police Force and that he recorded the cautionary and voluntary statements of Madam Njai, Momodou Badjie, Cherno Marena and Momodou Taal.
He said he did nothing more in the case apart from obtaining the statements. He said exhibit J3 (one of the cautionary statements of Madam Njai) is not dated as it is detached from a dated one marked exhibit J1 and J2.
He denied the defence lawyer’s claim that all the cautionary statements were obtained on the same date. When he was asked to tell on which dates he obtained the statements, he said it was 21st June 2016 but he cannot access the statements.
The witness indicated that he does not know whether cautionary and voluntary statements were obtained from Edrissa Jobe when he (Jobe) and the accused persons were arrested. He added that the voluntary statement of Madam Njai was obtained at the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and that he may not be the appropriate person to answer questions about that because he was only asked to go there to record the statements.
He also told the court that he does not know how many officers took part in investigating the case but he can only remember Bakary Darboe (PW1). When the defence lawyer put it to him that he was not telling the truth when he said he does not know the number of officers involved in the investigation, PW2 maintained that he was telling the truth and that in his capacity he cannot lie to the court.
While responding to question from defence counsel E Sanneh for the 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 9th and 10th accused persons, the witness said recording the statements of the accused persons was not his first time, adding that he works at the Major Crime Unit for 7 years, saying he understands the procedure involved in recording statements.
He maintained that he duly cautioned the accused persons before the statements were recorded, but when the defence lawyer told him that it is required by procedure for his name to appear on the statement as the record officer, the witness replied in the affirmative and said his name supposed to appear but it appeared in 2 out of the 5 statements he recorded from Badjie.
The case is adjourned to Monday 28th November 2016 for continuation of cross-examination.
By Fatou Sowe