Defence team in the economic crime trial against Gambia’s former Petroleum Minister; Sira Wally Ndow-Njai and 9 other former top government officials, yesterday continued to cross-examine detective sergeant Alhagie K Manneh, the second prosecution witness (PW2) in the case before Justice O Otaba at the High Court in Banjul.
Madam Ndow-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.
Continuing his testimony under cross-examination by Lawyer E. Sanneh, PW2 said in his testimony in the previous court sittings, he did tell the court that he has been working for the police for 7 years and that he cautioned the 2nd accused (Badjie). He also said it was required for his name to be written on the statements he obtained.
The witness was asked to show to the court where his name is written on exhibit K1, K2 and K3 (the cautionary statements of Mr Badjie) but he replied, “I told you that my name only appears on K5.”
The defence counsel however claimed that the witness’s name is on the three cautionary statements because he did not record the statements of the 2nd defendant but the witness maintained that he recorded the statements.
He informed the court that he was not part of the investigation of the case as he only recorded statements from the accused and that he cannot remember the circumstance leading to the arrest of the 2nd accused as his task was only to record statements.
Lawyer Sanneh asked, “If you cannot remember circumstances leading to the 2nd defendant’s arrest, how could you be certain that at the time you recorded the statements from him, you accorded him his rights?” PW2 responded, “The investigative team will be able to tell you that as I was only assigned to record statements.”
PW2 maintained that he does not work for the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), saying, “I’m a traditional police, original police officer.” He added that he was asked to go and meet the accused at the NIA office so he recorded the statements at the NIA and not his office at the Major Crime Unit of the Gambia Police Force.
Lawyer put it to him: “The reason why your name is not on the cautionary statements of the 2nd defendant is because they were recorded by intelligence officers at the NIA?” PW2 replied “The statements bear the logo of GPF, not NIA. All statements that bear police logo were recorded by me and others.”
The case is adjourned to 29th November 2016 for continuation of cross-examination.
by Fatou Sowe