Former Petroleum PS Case Suffers Setback

By Rohey Jadama

The ongoing trial involving Mr. Muntaga Momodou Sallah, the former Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Petroleum did notMr. Muntaga Sallah proceed on 16 August, 2016 as the fifth prosecution witness is said to be indisposed.

When the case was called before Principal Magistrate Omar Cham of the Banjul Magistrates’ Court, the police prosecutor informed the court that PW5 is indisposed and that he wishes to interpose him and call PW6 who is their last witness, but that PW6 is suffering from stroke.

However, Counsel Loubna Farage objected to the application, arguing that the application lacks merit. She argued that the prosecution has not given any reason as to why PW5 should be interposed.

She continued, “Such application will leave the defence and in deed the court to uncertainty as to when this trial will end.  It is over two months we have not been able to proceed with this case and it’s been one year since the trial started and the accused person is yet to know his fate.  We urge this court to insist on the prosecution to proceed today with their case or close their case”.

Replying to the submission of the defence counsel, the prosecutor said adjournments are part and parcel of proceedings and he urged the court to adjourn the case.

However, the application for an adjournment was granted by the court and the prosecution was ordered to bring either PW5 or PW6 in the next adjourned date. Subsequently the case was adjourned till 24 August, 2016 for continuation of hearing.

The prosecution alleges in  count one that Muntaga Sallah, sometime in November 2014, whilst serving as permanent secretary at the Ministry of Petroleum, instructed without approval from the Minister of Petroleum at the time, the purchase of three computers marked HP to the tune of $25,400.45, which he later stole and took to his home in Senegambia.

Count two stated that Mr Sallah, in the same month and year whilst serving as permanent secretary at the Ministry of Petroleum, stole three computers marked HP to the tune of $25,400.45 belonging to the Gambia government.

Count three stated that also in the same month and year, Mr. Sallah abused his functions as permanent secretary at the Ministry of Petroleum, when he instructed without approval from the Minister of Petroleum at the time, the purchase of three computers marked HP to the tune of $25,400.45, which he later stole and took to his home in Senegambia.

He however, denied culpability of the charges levelled against him.