27 February 2013

Gambia: Former Sinchu Jenum Alkalo Ends Defence Testimony

Alhagie Ismaila Jallow, former Alkalo of Sinchu Jenum in the Central River Region (CRR) yesterday concluded his defence in chief before Presiding Magistrate Dawda Jallow of the Banjul Magistrates' court in a one count charge of allegedly giving false information to a Public Officer contrary to section 114 of the Criminal Code.

Continuing with his defence, the former alkalo told the court that at the beginning of the rainy season, Nyani Touray and Amadou Jawo went to farm on the lands because they said it belongs to their father. He said he went to the chief and told him that the said people are farming on his land. He said when he was reporting the matter to the chief, the alkalo of Madina and the governor were present but the chief asked him to go because he does not have anything in that village and those residing there are the owner. He said he then wrote to the president because Amadou Jawo and the chief gave the lands to the Jahanka ethnic group.

At this juncture, a letter of acknowledgment emanating from the office of the president and addressed to the accused person was shown to the court by the accused which was admitted in evidence as defence exhibit 2.

However, Police prosecutor, Sarja Sanyang objected to the admissibility of the petition written by the accused person to the office of the president on grounds that the said petition was already admitted by the prosecution. The document was therefore rejected accordingly.

According to Mr. Jallow, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) sent five officers together with a lands officer and upon their arrival at the village, they asked him about the land of the President and he responded that it was shown to them. He narrated that upon their enquiry about the acting alkalo, he told them that she was at home. He said when the officers went there, they didn't find her there because she ran to the chief. He said they also asked about Mr. Jawo but was told that he went to Macca Saderr that's where he lives. He added that the delegation went to the chief and found her there. And when they started to interview her she started crying.

Mr. Jallow, the former alkalo of Sinchu Jenum village, further testified that the following day, two officers namely; CID Trawally and S/O Jah went to his compound with one clerk from the department of lands, Pa Sallah whom he said told him that they wanted to see the land of the President because they are securities in that area. He said he took them to the land and called the villagers at the said land whilst the officers called the chief to come. He said the chief asked the clerk to measure the property so that she prepares a document to be signed by the accused person.

When asked by the court whether he signed, he responded in the negative.

Several land rates receipts were rejected by the court on grounds that it did not bear the name of the accused person neither was it mentioned in the petition of the accused person.

Hearing continues to the 13th and 14th of this month respectively.

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