By Rohey Jadama
Justice Eunice O. Dada of the Banjul High Court yesterday subpoenaed Mr. Ebrima Jawara, former agriculture Permanent Secretary and Mr. Sulayman Manneh to appear in court to give evidence in the case involving three officials of the Ministry of Agriculture.
The accused persons are Mr.Lamin Fatajo, former Coordinator of Rural Finance Project, Mr. Lamin Mass the former acting Finance and Administrative Manager of the same project and Mrs. Ada Gaye, the former agriculture Permanent Secretary.
When the case was called Lawyer A. Adeyemi and B. Jeng announced their representation for the state while Lawyer Borry S. Touray appeared for Messrs Fatajo and Mass and also held brief for Lawyer Tambedou defence Attorney for Mrs. Gaye.
The trio is indicted with 11 criminal charges ranging from abuse of office, neglect of official duty, economic crime, disobedience to statutory, among others. They, however, denied all the charges leveled against them.
At this stage Lawyer Adeyemi informed the court that the matter is slated for hearing but that the witness is not available. She said at the last adjourned date they applied that if the witnesses fail to appear in court, the court should subpoena them.
State counsel Adeyemi added that in respect of Mr. Ebrima Jawara and Mr. Sulayman Manneh, she applied for the order to be directed to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) so as to secure the attendance of the said witnesses in court. She added that these are witnesses that gave witness statement at the police.
However, Barrister Touray did not object to the application but argued that the IGP has no business with the summons issued by the court. He added that the said witnesses are standing trial before this court on similar charges and that it is compelling for them to come and testify in the case.
In response, state counsel Adeyemi, said the police are the proper authority to ensure the attendance of such witnesses where the state cannot reach them because they are the investigators.
On the issue of addressing it to the IGP, she said it is for the IGP to forward the said order to the investigators.
“The witnesses are standing trial in a case and if the charges are similar they would have been charged together. The evidence they are coming to give is based on what they know. We urge the court to grant our application as prayed”, she submitted.
Justice Dada in her ruling held that the witnesses sought to be summoned are not standing trial in this case. She accordingly subpoena Messer Jawara and Manneh.
She further ruled that the summons shall be directed to the IGP for these two witnesses to appear in court.
The case continues today 23 November, 2016 at 2:30-3:30pm for continuation of hearing.