By Mamadou Dem
Veronic Carayol, former Deputy Commissioner of Enforcement at the
Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA), yesterday, 10 February, 2015 at her
trial told the Banjul Magistrates’ Court how she was employed
and promoted at GRA.
In her evidence-in-chief as the first defence witness (DW1), Ms. Carayoltold the court that she is currently unemployed as her services were
terminated in a letter dated 31 September, 2014.
Responding to a question from her attorney as to whether September has
31 days, she replied in the negative.
“I received the letter from the Director General of the National
Intelligence Agency (NIA) when I was in their custody,” she disclosed.
Upon confirming the letter given to her by the defence, Lawyer Hawa
Sisay Sabally applied to tender it in evidence as Exhibit. It was
admitted and marked accordingly without objection from the
The letter of termination of the service of the accused indicates
among other things that the Public Service Commission (PSC) has
concurred to dismiss her services.
DW1 told the court that the PSC never indicated in her letter of
dismissal the person that dismissed her from the service.
“Is it correct that you were a staff of GRA?” asked counsel.
At this juncture, the Police prosecutor, Assistant Superintendent of
Police (ASP) Musa Camara interjected and raised an objection to the
question. He argued that the question was a leading one which, he
said, is not acceptable in an examination in-chief. He cited Section
198 of the Evidence Act, adding that the defence did not ask for the
permission of the court to raise such questions as required by the
said section. He then urged the court to reject the question.
Replying to the objection, the defence counsel submitted that Section
198 of the said Act has a sub-section which needs to be read together.
She said there is no dispute that the accused was an officer of GRA.
“I urge the court to overrule the objection and allow the witness to
answer the question,” she submitted.
Delivering the ruling, the presiding magistrate maintained that the
question asked by the defence was admissible in pursuant to Section
198 sub Section (2) of the Evidence Act and overruled the prosecution’s
Responding to the question, the witness said: “I was a staff of Gambia
Revenue Authority up to 31st September 2014.”
Explaining her employment history, DW1 informed the court that she
joined the then Customs and Excise on or around 11 July, 1984 as a
temporal clerk and from there she rose through the ranks and became
Principal Collector in 1994. She said there was a merger of the then
Income Tax Department with Custom and Excise and the positions were
advertised in 2007. “I then applied for three positions; Ports
Manager, Ports Clearing Manager and Manager Ports Operations. I was
called for an interview which I attended, then I was offered the post
of Ports Operations Manager in November 2007.”
With tears rolling down her cheeks, she continued: “I served in that
post up to September 2009 when I was transferred to the Headquarters
as Tariff Manager. From Tariff Manager, I was posted to the Ports
Clearing Manager. My then Commissioner General, Antouman Trawally,
forwarded a recommendation letter to the Board of Directors of the
Gambia Revenue Authority to appoint me as Deputy Commissioner of
Enforcement, a post I held up to my termination in September 2014.”
After confirming a document as a copy of her appointment letter in
1984, her attorney applied to tender it as evidence. It was
consequently admitted for Identification purposes. Her letter of
appointment as Ports Operation Manager was also admitted as defence
Ms. Carayol told the court that upon acceptance of the position, a
letter was communicated to the Commissioner General conveying her
acceptance as Ports Operation Manager, adding that she also received a
communication and confirmation from the Human Resources Department
that they have received her letter of acceptance to the post.
Another letter of appointment to the position of Deputy Commissioner
of Enforcement was also admitted as exhibit and marked accordingly.
Reacting to a statement made by Yankuba Darboe, the acting
Commissioner General of GRA, as contained in Exhibit A, the police
investigation report that she is very negative to deal with, the
witness said “I do not agree”.
At that juncture, the case was adjourned till February 24 for
continuation of her defence.
Ms. Carayol is charged with “Abuse of office”, “Giving False
Information”, “False Publication” and “Corrupt Practice”, all of which
she denied. She is currently on bail.
By Mamadou Dem