Njogu Bah continues his defence, In Abuse of Office Trial

By Mamadou Dem
Dr. Njogu Bah, erstwhile Secretary General, Head of the Civil ServiceNjogu Bah
and Presidential Affairs Minister, continuing his defence, yesterday,
21 January 2015, told the Banjul Magistrates court that he did not
abuse his office in the case of Miss Jainaba Jobarteh’s appointment to
Gambia’s Mission in New York.He said a file came to him emanating from the Personal Management
Office (PMO) conveying the proposal for the appointment of Miss
Jobarteh.
According to the accused, he knew Miss Jobarteh as a staff of the
Foreign Affairs Ministry. “I know many civil servants and if she is
within a line up, I will be able to identify Miss Jainaba Jobarteh,”
he said.
The former Secretary General further told the court that when he last
checked with the dictionary about the meaning of the word ‘acquaint’
it explains it as “somebody or something you know but not very well”.
“I wouldn’t deny that I know her like I know other civil servants. I
want to add that when you are in a position of leadership you need to
grow very fix things. I served as Secretary General and I know that as
a leader you must take decisions and make decisions,” he said.
Defence counsel, Lamin K. Mboge, asked him to tell the court the
reasons why Mr. Yusupha Dibba (Pw2) came to court and testified
against him with evidence he (Njogu) denied. But before he responded,
the state counsel, Mansour Jobe, interjected and objected to the
question. He argued that the question asked by counsel solicits
opinion evidence.
State counsel further submitted that the accused can give counter
evidence against Dibba’s evidence but not to give opinion evidence or
evidences as to why Mr. Dibba testified against him, adding that it is
irrelevant and therefore the court should disallow it.
Replying to the objection raised by the state counsel, Lawyer Mboge
said Section 64 of the Evidence Act has answered that and that the
witness has previously laid foundation that he works with Mr. Dibba in
the civil service. He further argued that the question is permissible
under Section 66 of the said Act.
In his counter reply, state counsel Jobe argued that Section 64 only
envisages relationship relating to married and not work relations. He
therefore submitted that the defence misconceived Section 64 and urged
the court to uphold the objection.
Delivering his ruling, Principal Magistrate Dawda Jallow upheld the
objection and urged the defence to reframe the question.
At this juncture, state counsel Jobe applied for an adjournment on the
grounds that he has other commitments in another court.
Consequently the matter was adjourned to 27th of this month for
continuation of defence without objection from the defence.
Readers would recall that Dr. Bah is standing trial on a single count
of ‘Abuse of office’ contrary to the laws of The Gambia.
Prosecutors alleged that Dr. Bah sometimes in the month of January,
2013, at State House in the City of Banjul, Republic of the Gambia
abused the authority of his office as Secretary General and Head of
Civil Service by interfering with the recommendation and posting of Ms
Jainaba Jobarteh to the Gambia permanent Mission at the United Nations
in New York, without following the proper procedure of nomination, and
thereby committed an offence.
He denies the charged.