20 August 2018

Gambia: Marabout Allegedly Obtains Money By False Pretence

Amadou Jobe, a marabout, was earlier arraigned before Magistrate Mam Samba of the Kanifing Magistrates' Court for allegedly obtaining money by false pretence, an allegation he denied.

To prove the case beyond reasonable doubt, Prosecutor Ahmed Touray called his first witness, Sainabou Kebbeh, to tell the court what transpired between her and the marabout.

Testifying before a crowded courtroom, she told the court that she was a student. She said that her fiancé who is abroad was in difficulties and herself too. She adduced that she asked her cousin, Fatou Saine, whether she knows somebody who could help her, further stating that her cousin told her that she knows a marabout called Jobe who lives at Manjai.

She narrated that they went together to the marabout's home and her cousin introduced her to him. She disclosed that he later asked her cousin to excuse them so that they could discuss privately.

She told the court that her cousin did what she was told. She said that he asked her what her mission was and she told him the difficulties she and her fiancé had, disclosing that he told her that she should buy some meat and fish for him to start the work, and that she should pay him D7000 for a start.

She adduced that he did check for her and her fiancé and confirmed that they were in serious difficulties, as well as her family, noting that he gave her some jujus and asked her to cut the meat into two pieces and wrap each with a juju and also wrap the head of the fish with another juju.

She further adduced that he asked her to go back in two days' time. She added that he told her that she should not tell anyone, including her mother, the work he was going to do for her.

She informed the court that her mother's account was in her name (the witness), stating that she withdrew D8000 from her mother's account. She testified that she then went back to the marabout and gave him D7000.

According to her, he asked her to hire a taxi so that they could take the meat and the fish with the jujus to Palma Beach, disclosing that she did as she was told and they proceeded to the seaside where she handed over the meat and the fish to him.

She stated that he then buried the fish in the sand and later they left. She said that two weeks later she went back to him and he showed her an empty tin in which he put some powdered charm and asked her to buy some sugar, indicating that after she bought the sugar, he inserted it into the tin, stirred it and it turned into sand.

The witness told the court that he then gave her the tin to keep it where nobody would see it, which she did, further narrating that after some days, she went back to him with the tin and gave it to him.

She said he then opened it and used something to stir it and later red pieces of cloth were found in the tin, noting that he told her that he was going to use the red pieces of cloth to clear the devilish charm invoked on her.

She testified that she was given a white piece of cloth and a juju with a mirror on it by him and asked her to take it home and look into the mirror every day, and this would make her successful in the future, as well as her fiancé. She said that he asked her to pay him D13,000 for the service, noting that she then withdrew the said money from her mother's account and paid him. She adduced that she also withdrew D176,000 from her mother's account and paid it to him to buy three bulls to do some work for her.

She told the court that on two occasions, she paid him D20,000 on each occasion for some services to be rendered to her, adding that he told her that he had spoken to his jins (devils) and asked her to go to a bush at Brikama with him. She said they went together and upon arrival, he asked her to kneel down and should not look back. She testified that she did so and he went into the bush for fifteen minutes and came back with a man she could not identify.

She told the court that the man then walked behind her and the two of them started discussing, while she was kneeling down. The witness stated that the man later went back into the bush and she and the marabout returned home.

Sainabou Kebbeh disclosed that she and the marabout went back to the same bush where she was again asked to kneel down by the marabout and not to look back but before she did so, the same man came out from the bush, covered in black.

"I have asked the marabout to go somewhere and stay for 40 days to do some work for you. You should buy some incense and kola nuts and you should pay D164,000 for the service," she said the man told her.

At this juncture, she disclosed that the marabout showed her a bag full of money to the brim and told her that it contained some Euro and dollar notes, but she only saw hundred -dalasi notes on top. She stated that the marabout told her that the total amount in the bag was D42,000,000, and it was meant for her.

She said she again withdrew D164,000 from her mother's account and paid it to the marabout after they left the bush. She told the court that she and the marabout went to Serekunda Market where she bought a bag of kola nuts to the tune of D6,000 for him to take along for the service.

She further narrated that the marabout again asked her to give him D12,000 for another service, adding that she had now emptied her mother's account and had run out of cash. She said she borrowed D12,000 from one Kadijatou Kebbeh and paid it to him.

She went on to say that the marabout one day called her on the phone and said that he had travelled to do some work for her. She adduced that he later called her again on the phone and asked her to give him D15,000 to buy a bull as charity.

She said that she told him that she had no money and that she had already exhausted her mother's account but he insisted that she should provide the said amount, and that the D42,000,000 would go back to her mother's account. She testified that she borrowed D15,000 from her friend, Jainaba Jobarteh.

The witness disclosed that one day her mother asked her to withdraw D8,000 for her but when she went to the bank to withdraw the money, there was only D4,000 left. "I was ashamed to tell my mother what happened," she told the court.

She stated that she did not know what to do but told Jainaba Jobarteh what happened and she told her to tell her mother, adding that it was Jainaba who told her sister, Mariama Kebbeh, who also told her mother what happened.

She testified that her mother then went with one Dullo Jallow to the police headquarters in Banjul and reported the matter, noting that the marabout kept on calling her to give him the D15,000. She said that she did not tell him that she was already in difficulties but told him that she had the said money with her.

She disclosed that he told her on the phone that he was coming for the money and they should meet at Serekunda, further stating that she went to meet him and gave him D15,000, and while he was putting the money into his bag, the police arrested him.

She finally told the court that the total amount she gave the marabout was D467,000.

The case was adjourned until the 30th August, 2018, for continuation.

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