By Mamadou Dem
Continuing with her defence before Magistrate Fatou Darboe of the Banjul
Magistrates’ Court, Ms Carayol added that the evidence of Mr.Omar Bangura (PW6) shows that there were some imports taken out of the ports since 2010 which are yet to be paid for.“How did Direct Delivery System Work?,” quizzed her attorney HawaSisay Sabally.
According to the accused, during this process, the importer applies to
the Commissioner General at GRA to have his/her goods or items
delivered without payments of duties or taxes for a brief period of 23
days which she said is permitted by law.
She said the importer will give reasons for making such applications
but it is the discretion of the commissioner general to approve or
disapprove the application and then minute it to the commissioner of
customs and finally to the Deputy Commissioner of Enforcement for
disposal of the goods where they are located, i.e., Sea Port or
Airport. Thereafter she said the importer and the GRA enter a bond for
the payment of duties for goods or items Imported.
Ms.Carayol further informed the court that one custom entry can have ten
containers and at the same time a single entry can have one container
depending on the bill of laden. She added manifest is a document used
in carrying goods either by land, sea or air which contains the
importer or exporter and principal address of the consignment for
export, weight quantity and description of goods carried.
Responding to another question from her attorney, Dw1 intimated that the
manifest wasn’t close because goods were cleared without any custom
declaration to serve as a supporting document to enable them close the
manifest by quoting the receipt number, the registration number and
date of payment.
When asked by her lawyer whether the manifest is in both hard and soft
copies, the witness replied in the affirmative.
“Who prepares the manifest at GRA?” Mrs.Saballyenquired?
The witness replied that the Shipping Agent sends it to the GRA
Management who in turn downloads it in their system; adding that
regarding the payment of a particular vehicle (Peugeot 406), she
said she checked in the system and found the following “OusmanSanneh care
of NumoSanneh.” She said she discovered in the system that
Numo Sanneh was the importer in Banjul.
“I called him and asked him for the receipt number for the payment of
the vehicle but he said he had paid. I told him no, but he asked me to
give him time to come with the receipts. He came to my office
accompanied by Omar Bangura (Pw6) and they gave me a receipt which I
checked in the system and found out that it was a forged receipt, not
an authentic one,” said the witness.
At that juncture, Police Prosecutor Assistant Superintendent of Police
(ASP) Musa Camara quickly interjected and argued that the witness
cannot determine a forged receipt; adding that the evidence given by
the witness amount to hearsay evidence which he said was inadmissible
by the court.
He therefore referred the court to Sections 19 and 21 of the Evidence
Act. Reacting to prosecutions objection, HawaSisay-Sabally submitted
that hearsay evidence is indeed admissible on the issue of forgery. She
said the witness said she checked in their system and discovered that
it was a forged one.
The objection was overruled; consequently the matter was adjourned
till 2nd and 7th of next month, 2015.
By Mamadou Dem