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 8 other former top government officials, yesterday continued to give evidence before Justice O Ottaba of the High Court in Banjul.
In continuing his testimony, the witness told the court that they (investigators) received a contract document from the Gambia National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) that was signed between GNPC and March Petroleum, adding that they also received tabulation which explained the loss incurred during the implementation of the contract.
While testifying under cross-examination by Lawyer S M Tambadou, defence counsel for the 1st accused person (Sira Wally Ndow-Njai), the witness told the court that he have been serving in the Gambia Police Force for 25 years and 8 months, saying an investigation team of four officers was set up to investigate this case, which he was part of but not as the head.
The witness testified that the officers in the team of investigators were himself, Baba Danso, Dawda Ndure and Yankuba Kinteh. He said his role was to obtain cautionary statements from the accused persons, maintaining that he was not the only one who obtained the statements.
According to him, he (witness) had obtained an additional cautionary statement from the 1st accused person, saying it is possible that there are other statements but as far as he knows the other statements should be with the state prosecutor. He said he cannot produce that other statement because he is not in possession of it.
When the witness was handed with the cautionary statement of the 1st accused person (exhibit A) and asked if the paragraphs in it were answers to questions that she (1st accused) was asked, he responded in the positive.
The witness was further questioned by defence lawyer Tambadou on the reason he failed to record the questions which the 1st accused was responding to, he said the statement was written by the 1st accused herself and that the questionnaire must be in the case file and he cannot produce that document (questionnaire) because it is not in his custody as the case file was sent to the Attorney General’s chamber for legal advice.
He also maintained that he cannot remember when the 1st investigation in the matter started but said the 2nd investigation which he was part of was conducted around July to early August 2016. He said he is not aware of any 3rd investigation.
The witness continued to state that he cannot say where the report of the 1st investigation is but said the report of the 2nd investigation, which they (the investigators) wrote, was sent to the AG’s Chamber. He said he cannot remember the date of the report but the amount of loss alleged in the report was over $7 Million using the tabulation.
He disclosed to the court that he does not have the tabulation nor does he know who prepared it but said they used the tabulation during their investigation to determine the loss incurred. He was handed with a document which he identified as the said tabulation and the defence lawyer applied to tender it in evidence as an exhibit.
The presiding judge admitted the document in evidence and adjourned the case to today at 12pm for continuation.
by Fatou Sowe