Jailed Former Secretary General Continues Testimony

By Mamadou Dem
Dr. Njogu Bah, one time Secretary General, Head of the Civil ServiceNjogu Bah
and Presidential Affairs Minister, who is currently serving a 2 year jail term, continued his defence at the magistrates’ court in Banjul presided over by Principal Magistrate Dawda Jallow yesterday, 23 March, 2015.Continuing his testimony under cross examination by the state, Dr. Bah
told the Court that it is correct that he stated in his statement that
the postings of Miss Jainaba Jobarteh was proposed from the Ministry
of Foreign Affairs. He said it was proposed from the said ministry
through a file that came to him.
“Will you agree with me that proper posting cannot be conducted
without having an internal meeting at the Foreign Affairs?” quizzed
state counsel, Mansour Jobe.
Dr. Bah Replied that he would not know whether there was a meeting or
not because he was not at the Foreign Affairs Ministry, adding that
postings are done through the office of the Secretary General via
Personnel Management Office (PMO).
“Does it mean that the Office of the Secretary General deals directly
with the PMO when it comes to postings without involving foreign
affairs?” asked counsel.
The witness replied in the affirmative. He said all postings,
including appointment letters, are written and signed by PMO.
“Therefore it is correct that postings can as well emanate from the
office of the Secretary General?”
Dr. Bah reiterated that postings are done either from the office of
the Secretary General and directed to PMO for action or PMO sends in a
file with recommendation for endorsement and that no third party is
involve.
He said it is not correct as stated by the prosecution that the
decision of posting Miss Jobarteh to their Permanent Mission in New York
was never from the PMO.
The former Secretary General further testified that as far as he is
concerned, he received a file from the Permanent Secretary, Personal
Management Office, which clearly forwarded a recommendation from the
ministry of foreign affairs for Ms Jobarteh to be posted to the
Permanent Mission in New York. He said he endorsed and returned it to
PMO and which was confirmed by PW3 (Dawda Fadera).
When asked by state counsel Jobe whether it is correct that at the
time of posting Ms Jobarteh, Pw2 (Yusupha Dibba) was about to be
redeployed to the ministry of defence but the witness replied that he
got it wrong, adding that Mr. Dibba was redeployed to the ministry of
higher education.
Further asked whether he will agree with prosecution that prior to
Dibba’s redeployment, he (Bah) called Mr. Dibba and informed him about
Ms. Jobarteh’s posting but Dibba advised him to follow the normal
procedure as he was not in a position to help because he was leaving.
At this stage, his attorney, Lamin Mboge objected to the question which was
upheld by the court. The prosecution was asked to rephrase the
question.
Dr. Bah further told the court that he would not call PS Dibba on the
appointments of Miss Jainaba Jobarteh. He said if he wanted to appoint
Ms. Jobarteh based on her qualification and competence, he would have
written directly to the PS PMO which, he added, has been the norm.
“Why didn’t you write directly to the PS PMO for the appointment of
Ms. Jobarteh?” asked the state counsel.
“When I received the file from PMO proposing the appointment of Ms.
Jobarteh, it was the same time it sounded to me that the office needed
to be capacitised,” said the accused.
“You want to tell this court that it was a coincidence?”
“I’m not saying that,” he replied.
The prosecutor put it to the accused that if he had called any PS at
the ministry of foreign affairs for the appointment in any of the
foreign missions, then that call could not have followed the normal
process or procedure. Dr. Bah said it is possible.
It was again put to him that he interfered with the appointment and
postings of Ms. Jobarteh to the Permanent Mission by calling PS Dibba
to inform the PMO PS, but he said that is incorrect. He added that if
he were to make a call, he would have called the PS PMO (Pw3).
“Can you on your own appoint Jainaba Jobarteh to the Permanent Mission
in New York?”
The witness replied that he did not post her on his own but instead he
received a file and recommended on it.
He told the Court that the Secretary General works directly with the
PMO and that if he deems it fit for an appointment, he or she can
write to PMO or call PS PMO and give him or her directives or
instructions. He added that based on qualification and competence, the
secretary general can appoint Ms. Jobarteh without making any call to
PMO.
At this juncture, the matter was adjourned to 1st April, 2015 for
re-examination by lawyer Mboge, counsel for the defence.