By Mamadou Dem
The trial of Sait Matty Jaw, a lecturer at the University of The Gambia (UTG), which was being held in camera for the purpose of hiding the identity of the NIA operative who testified, has yesterday, 31st of March, 2015 resumed in open court.
Testifying before Magistrate Samsideen Conteh of Banjul Magistrates’ Court, Mustapha Jow, a native of Banjul and a prosecution witness, said he worked for one of the fuel filling stations and can recognise the accused person.
He told the Court that in October 2014, he received a call from one Amadou John who informed him that they wanted to conduct a survey and was asked to go to Tango for the training.
When the witness started to dwell on a conversation he had with another person, the defence lawyer, Antouman Gaye raised an objection to that line of testimony by the witness which, he said, is hearsay evidence. He then referred the Court to Section 19 of the Evidence Act.
State Counsel Babucarr Drammeh assisted by Mariatou Faye insisted that the testimony is not hearsay. He argued that the evidence given by the witness was a conversation he had with the friend.
Delivering his ruling, the trial magistrate upheld the objection by virtue of Section 19 of the Evidence Act.
Continuing his testimony, Mr. Jow said they underwent training on interview for five days at Tango which was conducted by Mr. Jaw and Tamarr, adding that upon completion they had an examination.
He said after the examination, they selected supervisors in each of the regions and that he was selected as supervisor for Region 1.
“Did you raise any concern during the training?” asked the state counsel.
“Yes. I asked them whether they had clearance,” replied the witness.
When asked whether he communicated his concern to the accused person, he responded in the negative. He added that Sait told him that they will sort out the clearance.
“Was the accused aware that clearance was not obtained?”
“No,” testified the witness.
“Was he aware that training was conducted?”
“Was clearance obtained after you raised your concern?”
“Did you at any time communicate with the accused?”
Under cross examination, defence counsel Segga Gaye asked the witness to tell the court when did he ask about the obtaining of a clearance, the witness said after he was selected as supervisor, adding that he cannot remember the date he was made supervisor but that it was sometime in October 2014.
At this juncture, the defence applied for an adjournment for possible continuation of cross-examination.
Consequently, the matter was adjourned to the 6th, 7th and 8th April, 2015.
Readers would recall that Mr Jaw was arraigned along with Seth Yaw Kandeh, a Ghanaian national, and Olufemi Erinle Titus, from Nigeria, on charges ranging from conspiracy, failure to register a business and two counts of disobedience to statutory duty.
They denied the charges on the day of arraignment and were remanded at State Central Prison, Mile II.
However, the two West African nationals, Kandeh and Titus changed their plea from not guilty to guilty on all the four counts against them and were accordingly sentenced to a fine of D50, 000 on each of the counts or in default to serve one year imprisonment on each of the said counts.
The trial magistrate further ordered for the sentence to run concurrently, adding that if the convicts failed to comply with the sentence within one month they shall serve the custodial sentence. The two convicts complied with the sentence and have now returned to their respective countries.