18 January 2013

Gambia: EX-GPA Boss' Case Proceeds

The criminal trial involving Abdoulie Tambedou, the former managing director of the Gambia Ports Authority (GPA) on Thursday proceeded before Magistrate Dawda Jallow of the Banjul Magistrates' Court.

Yesterday's proceeding began with the hearing of the testimony of the fourth prosecution witnesses (PW4). PW4 who introduced himself as Ebrima KM Ceesay, a police officer attached to the Major Crime Unit of the Gambia Police Force, informed the court that he came to know the accused in connection to the case.He said he was instructed by his station officer to obtain a cautionary statement from the accused.

While obtaining the said statement, he said he invited an independent witness and read the cautionary wordings to the accused after which he (the accused) voluntarily wrote his statement According to him, after writing the statement, Tambedou signed it, the independent witness also signed it and he (PW4) endorsed the statement.

The witness identified the statement and the prosecutor Sergeant Manga applied to tender it in evidence as an exhibit, but the defence counsel for the accused person, Lawyer LS. Camara objected. He said that the foundation for the reception of the documents has not been laid as the witness stated that he was instructed to take the causionary statement of the accused person. The witness said that one Basiru Drammeh was present as the independent witness.

Lawyer Camara further submitted that there are more than one cautionary statement as one is dated 24th August 2012, the other one is not dated and has no independent witness meaning the foundation for this one has not been laid.

According to Lawyer Camara, another statement dated 6th September 2012 also has no independent witness and therefore it cannot be the subject of what the witness has said. He noted that it is the statement dated 6th December 2012 which has an independent witness by the name Basiru Drammeh. He finally urged the court to reject the bundle of causionary statements tendered by the prosecutor.

In response to the submission of the defence counsel, police prosecutor Manga submitted that admitting the bundle of cautionary statements will not be prejudicial to either party in the case. He said that since the accused did not deny writing the statements, he urged the court to admit the documents and also backed his submission on Section 3 of the Evidence Act that states something about relevance.

In the court's ruling, it admitted pages 1 to 9 of the document and it was marked as exhibit p5 while the other 4 pages were rejected and marked accordingly. During cross-examination, the witness informed the court that he cannot remember when page 7 of exhibit p5 was written but page 8 was written on the 6th September 2012 while page 1 was written on the 24th August 2012.

PW4 informed the court that there are more than one cautionary statement. He said on page 1 of exhibit P5 he wrote his name, unit name (office name) name of the independent witness and where he lives.He finally said that the said independent witness signed page 1 of exhibit p5 but the signatures on pages 1 to 6 are completely different.

At that juncture, the case was adjourned to 21st January 2013 for continuation of hearing.

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