Defence lawyers in the ongoing criminal trial involving Sira Wally Ndow-Njai, Gambia’s former Minister of Petroleum and 8 other former top government officials, yesterday continued to cross-examine Chief Inspector Bakary Darboe, the first prosecution witness (PW1) in the trial.
Sira Wally Ndow-Njai, Momodou OS Badjie, Fafa Sanyang, Muntaga Momodou Sallah, Momodou Taal, Seedy Kanyi, Noah Touray, Louise Moses Mendy and Cherno Marena are jointly and severally charged with multiple criminal offences before Justice O Ottaba of the High Court in Banjul.
Responding to questions from the 1st accused person’s (Sira Wally Ndow-Njai) defence Lawyer SM Tambadou, the witness told the court that the tabulation that was exhibited in evidence was prepared by Baboucarr Njie, the current Managing Director of Gambia National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), adding that the police does not prepare tabulation but their accountants.
He revealed that when the 1st accused person was making her statement (exhibit A) on 26th August, 2016, she was already brought before court. He said the 1st accused person had always denied the charges against her.
During his testimony under cross-examination by the defence counsel for the 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 9th accused persons, Lawyer L S Camara, the witness disclosed that they (the investigators) had gone through the tabulation to find the loss incurred by GNPC as nothing was wrong with the contract document.
“Are you an accountant personally?” Lawyer Camara asked, and the witness responded, “I am not. He was also asked by the lawyer about who among the investigation panel members is an accountant but the witness said he doesn’t know.
The witness said they sought for the interpretation and explanation of the tabulation from the author of the document but there was no name or signature of the author on the document. He said they interrogated Momodou OS Badjie during the course of the investigation and they obtained statements from him but he does not have the statements with him.
The witness went on to disclose that Fafa Sanyang’s cautionary statement was obtained on 25th August, 2016 at the National Intelligence Agency. He said Sanyang had responded to questions asked by the investigators which were pursuant to a substantive statement that was earlier taken.
He informed the court that he did not record the said substantive statement and he does not know who recorded. He said he does not know the questions that Sanyang responded to in his statement and that he does not also know Seedy Kanyi and Noah Touray (5th and 9th accused persons).
Responding to questions from Lawyer Y Senghore, counsel for the 4th accused person Cherno Marena, the witness maintained that he was part of the second team of investigators in connection to the case and that there was no report prepared by the first team. He said members of the first team of investigators were: Alhagie J K Manneh, Bakary Drammeh, Mustapha Ceesay and one Mr Fatty.
The witness indicated that he does not know whether their investigation came after charges were filed against the accused persons nor does he know whether they were taken to the Banjul Magistrates’ Court on 22nd June, 2016, adding that he does not equally know when they were taken to court.
He further informed the court that the cautionary statement of the 4th accused person (exhibit C) was obtained on 27th August, 2016. He said in the statement he gave answers to each of the 12 questions they are not stated in the cautionary statement. He said the questions were the ones he (witness) earlier referred to, which he said are in the case file.
Hearing continues on Monday.
by Fatou Sowe