By Mamadou Dem
Lamin Mboge, defence counsel for Njogu Bah, former Secretary General, head of the Civil Service and Presidential Affairs Minister, yesterday, Thursday, 4 September, 2014 continued to cross-examine Dawda Fadera, Permanent Secretary Personal Management Office and third prosecution witness (PW3) in the ongoing false information trial of the accused.
“Can you remember who informed you about the postings of Miss Jainaba Jobarteh to the UN Office in New York?” asked the defence counsel.
“Yes, I can. The proposal of postings of Madam Jobarteh was taken up with me by the then Permanent Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Yusupha Dibba,” responded Mr. Fadera.
“It would be correct to say the postings of Miss Jobarteh emanates from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs?” asked Mboge
“As I said it was taken up by the Permanent Secretary Foreign Affairs with me,” replied the witness.
“When the matter was taken up with you, did you endorse it or recommend the proposal?” he asked.
“As soon as we received the proposal, we verified in her file, formalised the request and forwarded it to the office of the President.” testified PW3.
“Where is Miss Jobarteh’s file?” quizzed counsel.
“We have at the Personnel Management Office, the master file, including all civil servants but I cannot remember whether the file was forwarded to the National Intelligence Agency (NIA),” responded PW3.
“Will you be surprised that PW1, Mr. Lamin Ceesay from the NIA, told this court that he did not see the file of Miss Jobarteh?” asked the defence counsel.
“I think is possible,” responded the witness.
“Can you recall if there was any request from the NIA about the file of Miss Jobarteh?” asked the defence counsel.
“I cannot recall because we have numerous requests, including the Ombudsman, Police and NIA,” responded the witness.
“Is it correct that when you forwarded the file to the office of the President, the proposal was endorsed by the then Secretary General (accused)?” asked the defence counsel.
“Yes that’s correct,” Fadera replied.
“When you said office of the President, you are referring to Secretary General?” asked Mboge.
“Yes,” answered PW3.
“It would be correct to say that the procedure you adopted in the postings of Miss Jobarteh is the normal procedure?” asked the defence counsel.
“Yes,” said PW3.
“It is also correct that after endorsement by the Secretary General there was a letter of posting?”
“Yes.”replied the witness.
“Are you aware of the circumstances leading to the postings of Miss Jobarteh to the UN Office?”
The witness replied, “No, I’m not aware.”
Counsel asked, “Were you aware that through the process that the Gambian UN Office in New York was handicapped due to manpower?”
The witness answered, “I was informed by the then Permanent Secretary that there were some vacancies in the mission.”
“Were you aware that it was the then Ambassador to the UN Derol Tommy ……?”
The witness replied, “No, I’m not aware.”
Counsel asked, “You are aware that it is the primary duty of the then Secretary General office of the President to fill all those vacancies at the UN Office?”
The witness replied, “I’m aware that as head of services, the Secretary General has a stake in ensuring that we have a reasonable capacity in the public services to ensure the delivery of services as required.”
Counsel asked, “Will you agree with me that the accused in fulfilling one of those primary functions approved and endorsed the appointment of Miss Jainaba Jobarteh to the UN Office?”
The witness replied, “I should think so.”
Counsel asked, “It is correct from your evidence in-chief that as Permanent Secretary you have a similar duty in filling vacancies below category 5?”
The witness replied, “I work together with the line manager not primarily the duty of the Permanent Secretary, Personal Management Office.”
At this juncture, the matter was adjourned till 17th September, 2014 for continuation.
Earlier before the commencement of the cross examination, Lawyer Mboge told the court that he had filed a notice to be served with Mr. Fadera’s witness statement for the purpose of cross-examination.
State counsel Olimatou Danso confirmed to the Court that they were served with the said notice in court, adding that the defence counsel can either proceed with the cross-examination or for the matter to be adjourned to enable them provide the statement. She said they are not even sure whether they have the document requested by the defence as it was not in their file.