Gambia: High Court Staff's Trial Commences

15 September 2021

The criminal trial involving Bakary Sarr, Assistant Bailiff at the High Court in Banjul, commenced on the 7th September, 2021, before Principal Magistrate Isatou Janneh-Njie of the Kanifing Magistrates' Court with the first prosecution witness.

Before the witness was called to testify, the prosecuting officer, Commissioner A. Sanneh, informed that he was representing the IGP along with Sub-Inspector Colley and Inspector Badjie. The accused informed the court that he needed legal representation which his family is engaged on.

The presiding magistrate then told him that the court would start with the witness and if the accused person hires the service of a lawyer, his counsel would cross-examine the witness.

Bully Nimaga, the witness, testified that he lives at Brusubi and he is a businessman. He said he deals in goods. He stated that he recognised the accused, adding that the accused works at the High Court as Assistant Bailiff. He added that last year in May the accused said they were selling a property and they agreed on a price.

He noted that he met the accused who told him that it was their office (Sheriff Division) that was selling the property. He stated that before meeting the accused, Lamin Darboe, his agent, approached him. He added that any property his agent came across he would inform him and would buy the property.

He testified that the accused had already shown his agent the property. "We visited the property and I asked my agent whether he trusted the accused and he said he did," he told the court. He posited that he told his agent that he was interested in the property but the accused was not part of the visit. "After I visited the site, I met the accused to discuss the price," he told the court. He testified that the accused told him that there was no bargaining in the price and the court had fixed the price. He further stated that the property was at Brusubi Layout. "We agreed at a price to the tune of D1,500,000. This was the time I made a payment of D500,000 and we met at Tabokoto near Elton Petrol Station," he revealed. He said that the land measures 75m X 45m.

He noted that the payment was made on the 2nd May, 2020, and that was the reason the accused gave him a hand written note. He added that his agent was present when he made the payment. He testified that he handed the document to the police, stating that his name was on the document.

The said document was shown to him and he identified it. The prosecutor applied to tender the document. His application was granted. The document was then given to the accused to go through, which he did. He did not object to the tendering of the document. It was subsequently admitted by the court.

Still testifying, the witness told the court that the property is an empty land. "I did not go with the accused to visit the site," he said. He posited that there was a day when he and the accused passed the land. He said he made a second payment of D250,000 and was paid at the Kanifing Court premises where cars are parked. He noted that the accused did not give him any receipt for the payment.

"I made a third payment of D250,000 at TK Motors at Old Jeshwang at their head office but the accused did not give me a receipt for the payment," he narrated. He said he made a fourth payment of D30,000 at the airport junction. He posited further that no receipt was issued to him by the accused for the payment.

"I made a fifth payment of D26,000 at my home at Brusubi and was not given a receipt by the accused," he declared.

He revealed that the second payment was made in the presence of his agent and one Bilay Tawu. The third payment, according to him, was made in the presence of the same witnesses. He added that the fourth payment was made in the presence of Bilay.

"The fifth payment was made in the presence of my agent and one Lawyer Manneh, who came with an assignment of the said land," he told the court. He noted that he gave the accused a total sum of D1,056,000.

Bakary Sarr, the accused, was earlier granted bail in the sum of D1,000,000 with two Gambian sureties one of whom should deposit his or her title deed whose value is D1,000,000 with the Registrar of the court. They should also deposit their ID cards and swear to an affidavit of means.

The case was adjourned to the 27th September, 2021, for the witness to continue his testimony.

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