By Rohey Jadama
At the trial of the GNPC, the dropping of the case against the former chairperson of the Board Mr Edirisa Jobe became an issue. Chief Inspector Bakary Darboe, the first Prosecution Witness was drilled on this issue while under cross-examination by defence counsel E. Sanneh but he insisted that he does not know.
The accused persons are Sira Wally Ndow_Njai, Momodou O.S Badjie, Fafa Sanyang, Cherno Marena, Seedy kanyi, Muntaga Momodou Sallah, Momodou Faal, Louie Moses Mendy, Noah Touray and Madun Sanyang.
They are being tried on charges of Economic Crime, Conspiracy to comit Felony, neglect of official duty, disobedience of statutory duty, and destroying evidence, they however denied any wrong doing.
When the case was called before Justice Otaba of the Special Criminal Dicision of the Banjul High Court, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), M.B Abubacarr appeared for the state, while Lawyer Antouman AAB Gaye, Omar MM Njie and Combeh Gaye announced their representation for the Mrs-Ndow-Njai, Lawyer E-Sanneh appeared for the 2nd, 3rd,5th,8th,9th and 10 defendants, Lawyer A.N.D Bensouda, Hawa Sisay-Sabally, Yassin Senegore and B.Bouye appeared for the 4th accused, Lawyer E. Chime for the 6th accused and C.E Mene for the 7th accused.
At this juncture Lawyer Antouman Gaye, the lead defence attorney for Sira Wally Ndow-Njai told the court that they have been served with the respondent’s brief. He said in order to safe time, he wishes to make an oral response to it one sentence and thereafter they can adopt the briefs.
However, Justice Otaba in his ruling ordered Barrister Gaye to put it in writing.
Cross-examining the first Prosecution witness Mr. Bakery Darboe, Lawyer Sheriff Marie Tambedou asked the witness during the onset of their investigation how many people were charged or arrested. The witness responded that he cannot remember.
“Are they all in the dock?”, asked Lawyer Tambedou “I would not know because I cannot remember how many people were arrested at the onset”, responded the witness.
Counsel Tambedou asked, “During the course of your investigation did you come across the persons in the name of Edrissa Jobe?” The witness answered, “Yes my lord.”
Counsel asked, “Was he also arrested and charged along with these accused persons?” The witness replied, “I know he was arrested but I don’t know whether he was charged”.
Counsel asked, “Did your panel interrogate Mr. Edrissa Jobe?” He answered, “Yes”.
Tambedou asked, “Was Mr. Jobe also given a questionnaire?” Witness replied, “Yes Sir of course”.
Counsel Tambedou asked, “Did he provide written answers to those questions?” Witness replied, “Yes”.
Counsel said, “Those answers he gave, were they in addition to the cautionary statements he made?” He responded, “Yes Sir”.
Touray remarked, “Officer Darboe, can you produce these answers of Mr.Jobe together with the cautionary statement of Mr. Jobe?”
Witness responded, “My lord I cannot produce them”.
Counsel added, “Why can’t you produce them Sir?”
He responded, “Because I am not in custody of those documents”.
Tambedou asked, “Can you kindly tell this court who has custody of these documents, is it in the case file?”
The witness replied, “Those documents are part of documents sent to A.G Chambers”.
At this juncture Barrister Tambedou applied for the court to order the state to produce copies of the cautionary and witness statements of Mr. Edrissa Jobe to them. He told the court that they were served with the statements of all the accused persons except that of Mr. Jobe.
Also cross-examining the witness was Lawyer E. Sanneh, defence counsel for the 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 8th, 9th and 10th defendants.
Counsel Sanneh asked, “When did the investigation start in this matter?”
The witness replied, “I cannot remember the exact investigation month but I think it is July-August”.
Counsel added, “Mr. Darboe if you cannot remember exactly when you started taking part in the investigation, how could this court believe that you carried out a thorough investigation?”
The witness replied, “All I can say is that I can’t remember the exact month”.
Counsel Sanneh asked, “Do you remember when statements were taken from Mr. Jobe?”
Witness replied, “No Sir I can’t remember”.
Counsel Sanneh remarked, “Mr. Jobe was invited to the police for a reason?” He replied, “Yes Sir”.
Counsel asked, “In taking a cautionary statement from Jobe you must have suspected him of a crime?” He replied, “Yes”.
Counsel asked, “What crime was he suspected of?” Witness replied, “I can’t remember but I think it is neglect of duty”.
Counsel asked, “Was Mr. Jobe conveniently removed from the investigation, why were the charges against him dropped?” He replied, “I don’t know”.
Counsel remarked, “If you cannot tell this court why charges against Mr. Jobe were dropped, how can you tell the court that you did a thorough investigation?”
He replied, “As far as I’m concerned I carried a thorough investigation, dropping off a case against someone is not a matter for me”.
Counsel asked, “If dropping a case against someone is not a matter for you, who is the matter for?”
He replied, “My lord I don’t know”.
Counsel asked, “Mr. Darboe the statement of the 10th defendant was taken 19 October, 2016, is that correct ?”
He replied, “That is correct”.
Counsel remarked, “It is also correct that his statement was taken after this matter had begun?”
He responded, “My lord I do not know when this matter began”.
Counsel asked, “In the indictment the investigation panel must have a change of mind, is that correct?”
He replied, “That is not correct”.
Counsel noted, “Tell the court why the 10th accused was lately included in the case?” He replied, “Because of his alleged involvement in the case was discovered lately”.
Counsel asked, “At the beginning of the case the 10th accused was used as a witness and he provided a witness statement?”
He responded, “Yes it is true that he provided a witness statement”.
Counsel asked, “Mr. Darboe is it not the case that your investigation in the case was flawed?” He replied, “No Sir”.
Counsel Sanneh remarked, “Mr. Darboe I put it to you that the 10th accused persons was merely an escape goat?” He replied, “No”.
At this juncture, the case was adjourned till today 16 November, 2016 at 3-4pm.