7 November 2012

Gambia: Police Officer Testifies in Foday Barry & Pa Mbye Case

Assistant Superintendent of Police, Lamin Cham on Monday 5th of November testified as the third prosecution witness in the ongoing alleged theft case involving Foday Barry, former Director of Intelligence and Investigations of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDEA), and Pa Habib Mbye, former Crime Management Coordinator of the same agency.

The station officer of Major Crime Unit at the Police Headquarters in Banjul informed the court that he knew the accused persons and sometime in October he received directives from the Crime Management Coordinator of The Gambia Police Force instructing him to form a team to investigate about the case involving the two accused persons. "I then formed a team of three people to call on the accused persons to the major crime office", said Cham.

ASP Cham added that the accused persons were briefly informed about the investigation and cautionary statements were obtained from them in his presence. He said he later requested the old case file from the prosecution office and made references to certain documents and statements.

"At the end of the investigation, myself and the team made a report which was forwarded to the prosecution for legal proceedings" testified the witness.

The head of the investigating team further disclosed to the court that the investigation report was signed by all panel members.

After looking at the investigation report, Police prosecutor sergeant Almameh Manga applied to tender it in evidence as an exhibit. This was admitted and marked as exhibit B when no objection was raised by defence counsel Uzuma Achibue.

According to Cham, the first accused, Foday Barry admitted being an author of an affidavit.

At this juncture, the prosecution applied to tender the said affidavit in evidence as exhibit but the defence quickly intervened and objected to the admissibility of the document sought to be tendered on grounds that the witness had earlier told the court that he made a report and the document cannot be tendered through him because he is not the maker of the affidavit.

Counsel finally urged the court to refuse the document and mark it as rejected.

Replying to the objection raised by the defence, the prosecution submitted that the said affidavit was recovered at the time of investigating the matter; adding that the witness headed the investigation. He said therefore the document sought to be tendered is very relevant to the case and should be allowed to form part of the evidence and finally prayed to the court to admit the document pursuant to section 3 of the Evidence Act.

Delivering the ruling, the trial magistrate upheld the objection of the defence and the document is marked as rejected.

Under cross examination, the witness testified that they were instructed to investigate as to whether the affidavit sworn in by the first accused, Barry was understating the actual amount seized from Robert Yaw Danquah, one time inmate at Mile II Central Prison. He said they were also to investigate whether that under statement amounts to uttering false documents and whether the second accused conspired with the 2nd accused in one way or the other.

Responding to another question raised by the defence, the witness told the court that the reason of looking into the old file was to make reference to certain documents and statements in that file.

Hearing continues on the 14th of November, 2012.

The duo are standing trial on five criminal count charges ie. Stealing, Making False Documents, Uttering False Documents among others.

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