Njogou Bah Opens Defence In Abuse of Office Trial

By Mamadou Dem
The jailed former Secretary General, Head of Civil Service andNjogu Bah
Presidential Affairs Minister, Dr Njogu Bah, yesterday, 23 February,
2015 opened his defence in the single count ‘abuse of office’ trial
before Magistrate Dawda Jallow of the lower court in Banjul.Dr. Bah  is accused of interfering with the appointment of Ms Jainaba
Jobarteh as The Gambia’s representative to the United Nations in New
York without following due procedures when he was the Secretary
General and Head of Civil Service.

He, however, denied any wrong doing.

He told the lower court in Banjul that he could not justify the
reasons behind the renewal of the contract of Mr. Yusupha Dibba, the
then Permanent Secretary at Foreign Affairs and second prosecution
witness in the case, since he was not responsible for the renewal of
contracts.

He said this remark while being cross-examined by state counsel, Mansour Jobe.

Giving evidence under cross-examination, the incarcerated former
Presidential Affairs Minister said: “I have earlier indicated in my
evidence that when I came to The Gambia in 2005, Mr Dibba was my first
point of contact. I found Mr Dibba in the system and he could have
more experience in the civil service because of the number of years he
served in the system. But I don’t think for sure he has more
experience in managing the affairs of civil service, rather it has to
be based on what type of job experience.”

The state prosecutor put it to him by that the reason why Mr Dibba’s
contract was renewed must have been based on dedication and experience
and that he was not left in isolation as the then Secretary General
and Head of Civil Service when the decision was taken by the
executive. Dr Bah paused and then replied: “When I met Mr Dibba in the
system at that time, I knew that he was a dedicated and committed
civil servant and well-experienced and I have said that in my
evidence. I only knew that his contract has been renewed on two or
more occasion and in general, the renewal of contract is based on the
commitment and dedication. But I was not responsible for the renewal
of Dibba’s contract so I could not know the reasons behind the renewal
of his contract.”

“Dr Bah I put it to you that the renewal of Mr Dibba’s contract as the
then secretary general and head of civil service, you were not left in
isolation?” state prosecutor Jobe enquired.

“I could probably remember once when Mr Dibba’s contract was renewed
during my tenure as the secretary general and head of civil service.
But recommendations do come from Personnel Management Office to my
office and I pass it to executive for final decision. I believed that
final decision was taken by the executive that resulted to the renewal
of Mr Dibba’s contract,” Dr Bah replied.

Dr Bah said he could not justify whether Dibba’s contract was renewed
independently by the executive without due consultation of his office,
maintaining that the duty of his office was to forward all minutes
that passes through his office to the executive for final decision.

At this stage, barrister Lamin Mboge, counsel for the accused, crave
the indulgence of the court for an adjournment to enable him attend to
other matters at the High Court. The case was subsequently adjourned
to 5 March for continuation of cross-examination.