By Lamin Sanyang
Sheikh Omar Bah, a ‘Machine Operator’ at the Central Bank of The Gambia yesterday, Wednesday 3rd December, testified in the criminal case of Mr. Momodou Sabally, former Secretary General and Minister of Presidential Affairs who is standing trial before Justice Emmanuel Amadi of the Special Criminal Division of the Banjul High Court.
When the matter was called in a crowded courtroom yesterday afternoon, Mr. SH Barkun, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) together with Olimatou Danso appeared for the State while lawyer Antouman Gaye announced his appearance for the defendant (Sabally).
The first prosecution witness in his evidence-in- chief introduced himself to the court as Sheikh Omar Bah. He said he lives in Pipeline. He told the court that he is a Machine Operator at the Central Bank and knows the accused person as they worked together at the said bank for many years.
The witness informed the court about a car dealer known as Assan Ndoye who was introduced to him by his brother in-law, Sulayman Jatta. He testified that the said car dealer brought two cars from Senegal to sell to the President. He said he contacted the accused (Sabally) who made arrangements to bring the cars to inspect them at his residence at Kerr Sering.
“The cars were inspected by him and he asked us to bring them the following day to the State House,” said Sheikh Omar Bah.
The Central Bank Machine Operator told the court that the following day, they brought the cars and met with the President at the July 22 Square. He said they were with the President at the July 22 Square till late at night and were asked to bring back the cars the next day. He said the cars were brought back the next day and were directed by the accused person to park them at the garage at State House as the keys were handed over to a soldier who was in-charge of the vehicles.
The witness said he remembered that one Mr. Ndoye went to the accused person’s office and when he came out, he told them to leave. He said he asked whether he could give the proposal to Sabally, but Ndoye told him to wait. He adduced that some weeks later he went to the accused person’s office and talk to him about the proposal given to him by Mr. Ndoye. He adduced that the accused told him to hold on because there were lots of papers on his desk.
The witness said after sometime, the accused (Sabally) called him at night and said he thought the cars were a donation. He said the accused spoke in an angry tone over the phone; as his boss he needed not to talk when he is talking. He said the accused said he would make sure the cars are returned to Mr. Ndoye.
The Central Bank Machine Operator said it is not to his knowledge whether the cars were returned to Mr. Ndoye or not. He insisted that the car dealer told him that the cars were for sale and not donation.
At this juncture, the state prosecutor asked the witness whether he has anything to tell the court apart from what he already said in his evidence in chief. The witness, however, started to say he felt sorry for the accused person, but was interrupted by the state prosecutor. He then said he has nothing to say except that the accused person (Sabally) was his former boss.
The matter was adjourned till today, Thursday 4th December, for continuation of cross examination.