16 November 2012

Gambia: Lawyer Achibue Quizzed PW2 in Foday Barry and Co Case

Defence counsel Uzuma Achibue yesterday cross examined the second prosecution witness (PW2), Ali Sallah, in the ongoing alleged theft case presided over by Principal Magistrate Taiwo Ade Alagbe of the subordinate court in Banjul, involving former Director of Intelligence and Investigations at the NDEA, Foday Barry, and former Crime Management Coordinator, Pa Habib Mbye, of the same agency.

Under cross examination, the defence counsel told the witness that one of the members of their police investigating team had informed the court that in their investigations they made reference to a report of previous investigations, but the witness answered in the negative.

Counsel Achibue further put it to the witness that they didn't make reference to the previous report because it wasn't made available to them. The witness insisted that the report was available but that they did not make reference to it.

When counsel put it to the witness that it means that the head of their investigating group was wrong when he said the report of previous investigation was provided to the witness, PW2 responded that he doesn't know. He told to the court that it is correct that reference was not made on the legal opinion of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

When asked whether he is aware that it was on the basis of that previous investigation that the accused persons were arraigned before the court before your own investigation, the witness responded in the affirmative.

When counsel further put it to the witness that by arraigning the accused persons, the opinion of the DPP was disregarded, the Police Prosecutor Manga, objected to the statement on grounds that it is not for the witness to say whether the legal opinion of the DPP was disregarded or not.

The defence counsel in his argument asked what type of investigation the witness will be doing if he fails to be aware of what the DPP thought about the case of the accused persons.

In his ruling the trial magistrate Alagbe overruled the objection of the prosecution on the basis that it lacks merit.

PW2 then responded in the negative.

The defence counsel asked PW2 that by responding in the negative it means that the accused persons are standing trial because the DPP's opinion is that they should be tried. PW2 said he did not say that.

Counsel Achibue asked PW2 whether he has a copy of the DPP's opinion on the matter, the witness responded in the negative. He added that he knew Ebrima Jammeh who is an NDEA officer attached to Holgam Unit in Kanifing.

When asked whether he is aware that Jammeh hold one of the keys to the safe at the NDEA, he responded in the affirmative. He added that he is not aware that the keys to the safe were taken from the first accused and handed over to Ebrima Jammeh.

Counsel put it to him that the keys which were with the first accused were handed over to Ebrima Jammeh when Mr. Barry, the accused, was arrested and detained.

PW2 Sallah said it is ok.

Mr. Sallah told the court that as an investigator in this matter, he is aware that Jammeh was among those who counted the money received from Robert Yaw Danquah, onetime inmate at State Central Prison Mile II.

Counsel Achibue further told the witness that while Mr. Barry was arrested and detained, Jammeh was still an officer working with the NDEA, the witness responded in the affirmative.

When asked by counsel whether he is aware that when the investigators went to count the money in the safe the first accused was never present, the witness responded that he was told by Mr. Barry that investigators went to count the money while he was not there.

Hearing continues on Thursday, 22nd November, 2012.

Readers could recall that the two accused persons are alleged of Stealing, Making False documents, Uttering False documents among others, contrary to the laws of The Gambia.

Both accused persons denied as charged.

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