Defence Delays in Muntaga Sallah’s Trial

Defence Delays in Muntaga Sallah’s Trial

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The three-count criminal charge trial against Muntaga Sallah, former Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Petroleum has failed to proceed before Principal Magistrate Omar Cham at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.  Sallah’s defence counsel, Victoria Andrew informed the court that they did not bring the complete case file because they were not sure if the witness would be available in court.

The case was set for continuation of cross-examination of the fifth prosecution witness Momodou OS Badjie, former Managing Director of The Gambia National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC).

The police prosecutor, Inspector S Sanyang did not however oppose counsel Andrew’s application for adjournment of the case.

The Police prosecutor A Badjie could not secure the attendance of the fifth prosecution witness in the last adjourned date but promised to bring the sixth prosecution witness as the prosecution’s final witness, who he said was suffering from stroke.

He had promised that the witness would be available in Wednesday’s sitting, which was opposed by the defence counsel Lawyer L Farage, claiming that the prosecutor’s mere submission that their witness is indisposed and that they intended to proceed with their final witness lacked merit.

Lawyer Farage argued that the case could not proceed for over two months and urged the court to close the case.

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 was adjourned to 6th September 2016 at 11.30 for continuation.

by Lama S Jallow