By Rohey Jadama
The defence counsel for Mr. Ebrima Jawara has Tuesday 18 October, 2016 cross-examined Yerro Saidy, a Police Office in the ongoing Criminal trial involving his client and 3 others.
The other accused persons are Dr. Alasan Bah, former Coordinator of Rural Finance Project, Mr. Sulayman Manneh, Accountant of the said project, and Mr Hassan Bah.
When the case was called before Justice Eunice Dada of the Banjul High Court Lawyer Mene announced his representation for Mr. Jawara, while Lawyer Hawa Sisay-Sabally appeared for Mr. Bah. Lawyer A.J Njie appeared for Mr. Bah and Held briefs for Lawyer Segga Gaye defence counsel for Mr. Manneh.
“Mr. Saidy you said you received the copy of the audit report through the office of the Inspector General of Police?”. “Yes,” answered the witness.
Responding to questions the witness told the court that he was not the head of the investigative panel. He said ASP Ceesay at the time was the head of the panel and now he is called Superintendant Ceesay.
The witness further adduced that the panel constituted six members and after their investigations, the report was attached to the case file and sent to the Attorney General’s Chambers for advice. He said there was an advice from the AG Chambers.
When asked by defence counsel Mene whether he has a copy of the said advice from the AG’s Chambers, the witness responded in the negative but, added that the report was an original copy which the panel signed. When asked whether it has a cover letter the witness responded in the negative.
When asked whether the panel had interviewed the 1st accused, the witness responded in the positive, adding that the panel interviewed the 1st accused person twice. He said the first was in the presence of the panel and the second was in the presence of an independent witness and the accused person’s lawyer.
When asked what was the name of the lawyer of the first accused, the witness responded that it was Mr. Drammeh. “I am putting it to you that Mr. Drammeh was never present in any interview?”, “He was there”, responded the witness.
The witness said as far as the panel investigation was concerned they investigated from April 2008 to December 2015.
When asked whether the panel received the audit report for April 2008 to December 2010, the witness responded in the positive.
When asked whether it is correct that the project will have one coordinator at a time, the witness replied in the positive.
“During the course of your work were you able to ascertain that the accused person was not appointed as the project coordinator from April 2008 to August 2010?”. “Yes he was not.
“The first accused person took over the assignment of Rural Finance Project in 2 November, 2010?”. “That’s not to my knowledge”, responded the witness.
“Do you want this court to believe that in the course of your investigation you did not determine when the first accused took over at the Rural Finance Project?” “We know that he was appointed October 2010 but we don’t know when the office was handed over to him”.
“It is correct in order for your panel to be able to establish who was responsible for what, it is important to know the various coordinators at a time?” “Yes it is important to know the time of their appointment”.
“In your evidence you said the accused’s claimed that their fuel allowances was approved by the project steering committees, which accused person said that?”. “All the accused persons”.
“Your panel did not believe it because there was no document to attest to it?” “Yes and even if there was any document the panel will not believe it”, answered the witness.
“Did you as an investigative panel find out whether it is the project steering committee that in fact approved it?” “During the course of the investigation the project steering committee was not in town”.
At this juncture the case was adjourned till 14 November, 2016 at 11am for continuation of hearing.