By Lamin Sanyang
Mr. Abdoulie Cham, former director of the geology department yesterday, Monday 16 June, testified in the trial involving Mr. Mambury Njie, former Minister of Finance who is now facing economic crime charges before Justice Mikhail Abdullah of the Criminal Division of the Banjul High Court.
When the case was mentioned, Mr. Simon Abi, Director of Special Litigation announced his appearance for the State while lawyer Lamin S. Camara appeared for the defendant.
The second prosecution witness introduced himself to the court as Mr. Abdoulie Cham. He said he lives in Brikama and was the former director of the geology department. He said he knew the Carnegie Mineral Mining Company, which he said was a mining company in The Gambia. He told the court that the said company was involved in mining and had a mining licence to mine and export mineral sand from the Gambia.
The former Director of Geology told the court that the Carnegie Mining Company was mining and selling the product outside Gambia, and usually paid royalty to the government. He added that the value of a tonne of the mineral is $30.8 dollars and that the company used to pay 5 percent of the sales price to the government.
During cross examination, the defence questioned the witness about his comment on the value of a tonne of the mineral sand which he said was $30.8 dollars. The witness answered in the affirmative. He was asked where he gets the value.
He claimed that it was from the report sent by Carnegie Mineral Mining Company to the geological department when he was the director of the said department. But when pressed by defence counsel, he acknowledged that at the time of sending the report he was the deputy director of the said department.
However, he adduced that the reports were sent to the department because the licence provides for the operators to send reports of their operation to the geological department, adding that they had a lands minister and a commissioner of petroleum.
It was put to him that the $30.8 dollars he spoke about was not captured in the report and he admitted that he had not seen it in the report.
Meanwhile, the case was adjourned till today, Tuesday 17 June 2014, for continuation of hearing.