By Mamadou Dem
Saikou Sanyang, Deputy permanent Secretary, Ministry of Lands and Regional Government, on Monday, 30 June, 2014 testified before principal magistrate Hillary Abeke of the Banjul Magistrates’ Court as the sixth prosecution witness in the ongoing criminal trial involving Lamin Waa Juwara, erstwhile Minister of Local Government Lands, Regional Administration and Traditional Rulers, Tamsir Onasis Konteh and Hamidou Jallow, Senior Principal Lands and Evaluation Officer.
In his evidence in chief, the witness disclosed to the court that he lives in Brikama, West Coast Region and work as a civil servant. “My current position is Deputy Permanent Secretary Technical Matters.”
He said as at May 2012 he held the position of Permanent Secretary at the said ministry.
“How long were you as Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Lands?” asked the state prosecutor, Mam Jobe.
The witness responded that he was acting all along until around January 2013, when he was confirmed as the PS.
When asked by state counsel Jobe to explain his job description, the witness said “My main role was to ensure the day to day administration of the ministry in close consultation with the line departments.”
According to the witness, there are two technical line departments i.e. Lands and Surveys and department of Physical Planning and Housing. He added that the purpose of the department of Lands and Surveys is to prepare various types of maps countrywide and to keep plan records and as well as to ensure the judicious administration of land countrywide.
Pw6 further testified that he worked in consultation with the Department of Lands and Surveys because the department served as an advisory council. “They would advise the minister in various applications and requests of lands,” said the witness. Such request, he said, are normally accompanied or forwarded with relevant supporting documents, adding that in respect of the Department of Lands and Surveys, they are responsible for submitting relevant supporting documents to the ministry.
Furthermore, the witness told the court that he has closely worked with the 2nd accused person (Hamidou Jallow) while he (Jallow) was acting at the Department of Lands and Surveys. He said he came to know the first accused, Tamsir Onasis Konteh, when he (Konteh) was following the compensation of the land he claimed to have lost in Tanji layout and the third accused, Lamin Waa Juwara, was minister in 2012.
Sanyang testified that he knew the late Malamin Jatta, erstwhile Director of Lands and Surveys, adding that he came to know Mr. Jatta through his career as a civil servant. He said he could not remember the exact date Jatta was appointed as Director but that he was Director from 2005 until the ‘Commission of Enquiry into Lands was instituted’ and was later sent on leave until 2012 when he resumed.
Hearing continues on Wednesday, 9th July, 2014.