By Mamadou Dem
After months of hearing in chambers, the trial of Sait Matty Jaw, a lecturer at Gambia’s highest Institution of learning (UTG) finally resumed in open court since last month with the testimony of one Mustapha Jaw who is yet to be cross-examined by the defence.
Notwithstanding this, the prosecution presented their third witness and national coordinator for West African Bird Study Association in yesterday’s proceedings.
Mr. Jaw is standing trial on charges of conspiracy, failure to register a business and disobedience to statutory duty, charges he denied.
He was earlier charged along with Seth Yaw Kandeh, a Ghanaian and Olufemi Erinle Titus, a Nigerian who earlier pleaded guilty to all counts and sentenced to a fine by the court while Mr. Jaw maintained his innocence.
Testifying before magistrate Samsideen Conteh of Banjul as the prosecution’s third witness, the witness identified himself as Amadou John, national coordinator for West African Bird Study Association (WABSA) and the vice chairman for youth committee in Banjul.
He said he recognized the accused person in the dock and could remember what transpired between him and the accused in October 2014.
“I remember I received a telephone call from Mr. Jaw asking me to identify five participants including myself to participate in a five days data base training which I did and I communicated to others in Banjul. We attended the training for five days on data base collection at TANGO and we were welcome by the trainers including Mr. Jaw and two others who were Ghanaian and Nigerian nationals respectively. They gave us the clues about the training before we were sent to various houses to conduct the survey based on the manual and questionnaires given to us during the training,” said John.
According to the witness, during the training the participants asked the trainers about the duration of the programme, timeframe, terms of payments and the legality of the programme, that is, whether the trainers had any clearance before conducting the survey but no positive response was given to them by the trainers.
The witness testified that he personally called the accused so as to clear the doubts regarding the questions raised by the participants but the accused he said promised him that the issues raised by the participants would be addressed by the trainers.
According to the witness, they were paid for the training and the transport fare was based on the location of each participant; adding that they were also trained on how to sketch a map plan before questionnaires were given to them. But before the end of the training, he said some participants decided to backtrack due to some irregularities on the questionnaires but later the trainers said they would change the questionnaires.
“Test was also given to the participants but the trainers were not much impressed with the outcome of the test but the participants also told the trainers that they would not carry out the survey without a clearance,” he disclosed.
At that point, the matter was adjourned till today for continuation of hearing.