By Lamin Sanyang
Justice Emmanuel Amadi of the Special Criminal Court on Thursday, 9 October, ruled in favour of the prosecution in the criminal trial involving the state and Sheikh Tijan Sosseh, the former coordinator of the West Africa Agricultural Productivity Project (WAAPP).
The court admitted the application made by the state prosecutor to tender a retention bond from the bank as evidence after it was objected to by the defense arguing that the document was secondary evidence because it was a photocopy. The defense lawyer (Antouman Gaye) in his argument stated that the document was a letter from Bank PHB and not a form from World Bank as stated by the prosecutor. He further asserted that the said letter was not a certified document referring the court to the law of evidence.
The trial judge in admitting the document highlighted the arguments submitted by both the defense and the state prosecutor. He said he agreed with the defense lawyer when he said the letter was a public document, but concluded that the prosecution was right that the document falls under section 113 of the Evidence Act. He noted that the document emanated from Bank PHB of The Gambia to the Ministry of Agriculture which he said was an official body.
Justice Amadi said he did not think the prosecution has to comply with the three conditions required by the law of evidence for the prosecution to satisfy the court that the document is in their possession, custody and control.
“I feel that the stamp and signature of Yasin Khan, Acting WAAPP Coordinator is enough. I am convinced that the document is admissible. I therefore, overrule the objection made by the defense accordingly,” said Justice Emmanuel Amadi.
In the meantime, the prosecution witness (Samsudeen Kebbeh) was called to continue his evidence in chief. He said he was aware of the contract signed in respect of the Gambia Emergency Agricultural Production. He said he was not aware of any other contract.
At this juncture, the state prosecutor (Abubakar Mohammed) applied for an adjournment which was not objected by the defense. Consequently, the matter was adjourned till Thursday 16th October, for continuation of hearing.