Chief Inspector Bakary Darboe, the First Prosecution Witness (PW1) in the ongoing criminal trial involving the state against Sira Wally Ndow-Njai, Gambia’s former Minister of Petroleum and 9 other former top government officials, yesterday continued to give evidence in the case before Justice O Ottaba of the High Court in Banjul.
PW1 continued his testimony under cross-examination by Lawyer SM Tambadou, the defence counsel for the 1st accused person. PW1 told the court that he cannot remember how many people were arrested or charged at the unset of their investigation and he wouldn’t know if they are all in the dock.
He said that he cannot say if Edrissa Jobe charged but he knows that he (Jobe) was arrested and was interrogated, given a questionnaire and he gave answers, adding that those answers are in addition to other cautionary statements he made.
The witness informed the court that he cannot produce those statements as they are not in his custody, and further said that they are in the case file sent to the AG Chambers.
At that juncture Lawyer Tambadou applied for the court to direct the prosecution to provide them (the defence) with the cautionary statements of Mr Jobe because they were served with all the cautionary statements of the accused persons and Mr Jobe’s witness statement.
The director of public prosecution DPP S H Barkun in response said he will locate the document in the case and make it available to Lawyer Tambadou. Then Tambadou took his seat passing the barten to Lawyer E Sanneh to cross examine on behalf of the 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 8th, 9th and 10 accused persons.
While responding to questions from Lawyer Sanneh, PW1 said that he works in the police unit for 25 years 8months and he has 9 years experience of police investigation. He added that he cannot remember when exactly he got involved in the investigation of this matter but it was between July and August.
Lawyer Sanneh contended to him (PW1) that if he cannot remember exactly when he started taking part in this investigation, then how could the court believe that they (the investigators) had carried out a fair investigation. PW1 maintained that he cannot remember when exactly.
PW1 further told the court that he cannot remember when the statements from Mr Jobe were obtained but Jobe was invited to the police for a reason and for them (the investigators) to take a cautionary statement from him they had suspected him of a crime of neglect of duty.
He was asked, “Was Mr Jobe conveniently removed from the investigation to lay the blame on my clients?” PW1 replied, “No.” he was further asked the reason why the case against Jobe was dropped and he responded that he does not know and that as far as he is concerned he carried out a thorough investigation so dropping of a case against someone is not a matter for him to decide, and does not know whose matter it is to decide.
He denied the Lawyer Sanneh’s claim that their investigation was not independent. He continued to tell the court that the cautionary statement of Madun Sanyang the 10th accused was obtained on the 19th October 2016 and he does not know if that was long after this had begun.
He further denied that they had a change of mind in respect of Mundun Sanyang which led to the late inclusion of his name in the accused persons, claiming that it is because of his alleged involvement in the case was discovered lately but he was earlier used by the panel as a witness and witness statement was obtained from him.
Lawyer Sanneh question’s, “Is it not the case that you investigation in this case was severely floated?” PW1 says, “No.” Sanneh further contended to him that like the rest of the accused the 10th accused was merely a scapegoat, but PW1 denied the claim.
Hearing continues today.
By Fatou Sowe