By Kebba Jeffang
Mr. Omar Bojang, a native of Jamburr and the 3rd prosecution witness (Pw3), told the court on Wednesday, 7th January, 2015 that Sinchu Gidom is part of Jamburr community and never a village of its own.
He said this during his testimony in the ‘Abuse of office’ trial involving Mr. Lamin Waa Juwara, the former Lands minister.When the matter was called at the Brikama Magistrate’s Court before Magistrate Sarr, the prosecuting officer Chief Inspector Camara announced appearance for the state whilst the accused person represented himself in court.
Witness number three told the Court that he could recall what happened in 1996 between Jamburr and Mr. Gidom Jallow, the purported founder of Sinchu Gidom.
“What I know between Gidom Jallow and Jamburr is that they came to our village appealing for a place to settle down. He and his relatives were hosted by the Jarreh Kunda Kabilo (clan) in Jamburr, as we have six clans. It was by then that the Jarreh kunda clan took cola nuts to the elders of the community where they discussed about the issue of Gidom’s intention of acquiring land. The elders welcomed the initiative and the land between Jamburr and Farato called CDC was given to him,” said PW3.
Mr. Bojang adduced that six compounds were given to him and that since then he stayed and became a Jamburr resident. He added that he is involved in anything that the Jarreh Kunda is doing.
Pw3 told the court that it was two years ago when they, the Jamburr elders, heard the information that Sinchu Gidom is a village of its own. He said the Alkalo informed the council of elders to form a delegation in which he was part of to go and meet with the district chief of Kombo South to discuss the issue.
Mr. Bojang further stated that “The chief told us that the information came to him from the top and when we asked ‘where’, he would not tell us. We further asked him if that is a proper decision. He attested to the fact that it is not a proper decision but he has received the information from the top and he can’t do anything about it.”
PW3 added that they decided to continue to the then Governor, Lamin Sanneh, who, he said, also told them that the information came from the top. He said Sanneh told them that they can only know about if they go to the Ministry of Local Government and Lands to find out.
However, he said they feared getting the same response from the Ministry and instead decided to write a petition to the Office of the President to express their unhappiness about the decision of dividing Jamburr community and the appointment of an Alkalo at Sinchu Gidom. He said there was no response from the president’s office.
“My doubt is that we are close to Busumbala, Farato and Jambanjelly who are larger than our village and were not divided and why should we. I don’t know the name of the appointed Alkalo of Sinchu Gidom but the surname is Sillah. After the petition, we heard his dismissal and replacement by someone whose surname is Jallow,” he said.
Mr. Bojang told the court that their Alkalo later received a letter stating that the Alkalo of Sinch Gidom is removed and that the settlement is now back under Jamburr.
Under cross examination by the accused person, the witness confirmed that Sinchu Gidom is located between Farato and Jamburr.
He disagreed that the settlement of Sichu Gidom has been existing for more than twenty years.
At this juncture, the matter was adjourned to 13th January, 2015 at 10am to hear from other witness.
Mr. Juwara, the former Minister of Lands and Regional Administration, is charged with a single count of ‘Abuse of Office’ contrary to Section 90 (1) of the Criminal Code Cap 10:01, Vol 3, Laws of the Gambia, Revised Edition 2009. He denied any wrong doing.
By Kebba Jeffang