Absence of the fifth prosecution witness in the three-count criminal charge against Muntaga Sallah, former Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Petroleum has led to the failure to proceeding of the matter before Principal Magistrate Omar Cham at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court yesterday.
The case was set for the continuation of cross-examination of the fifth prosecution witness, Momodou OS Badjie, who was the Managing Director of The Gambia National Petroleum Corporation but the case could not proceed on the ground that the witness was not in court.
The Police Prosecutor, Sub-Inspector A Badjie informed the court that the prosecution now has one more witness to testify after the fifth prosecution witness. He said that witness is suffering from stroke but promised that he would be in court on the next adjourned date.
His submission was opposed by Sallah’s defence counsel, L Farage who maintained that the prosecution’s application lacked merit on a mere submission that their witness is indisposed.
She said the case could not proceed for over two months and urged the court to order the prosecution to proceed or close their case.
Prosecutor Badjie however maintained that adjournments are part of court proceedings and urged the court to overrule the counsel’s application.
Muntaga is standing trial for purchasing three HP computers worth $25, 445 which he later allegedly stole and took to his home at Senegambia, while serving as Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Petroleum.
The prosecution further alleges that the accused person has stolen three HP computers worth $25,445, which he knew belonged to The Gambia Government.
Sallah is also facing charges of abusing his office, when he instructed, without approval, the purchase of the computers, all in the month of November, 2014 in Banjul. He pleaded not guilty to all charges.
The case is adjourned to 24th August at 11:30 for continuation.
by Lama S Jallow