By Rohey Jadama
Constable Modou Sowe, attached to the major crime unit at police
headquarters, continued his testimony as third prosecution witness
(PW3) in the trial of Momodou Sabally, the erstwhile Secretary General and Minister of presidential Affairs, yesterday April 14, 2015 before Justice Emmanuel Amadi of the Banjul High Court.Mr. Sabally is facing eight charges ranging from two counts of
‘Economic Crimes’, three counts of ‘Abuse of Office’, two counts of
‘Neglect of Official Duty’ and a single count of ‘Giving False
Information to a Public Officer. He, however, denied any wrong doing.
PW3 told the court that other than obtaining the voluntary and
cautionary statements from the accused he did not do anything. He said
they invited witnesses into the case who were interviewed and
their statements recorded. He added that they also obtained the
relevant documents from the witnesses concerned and after which they
submitted the report to the concerned authorities.
Under cross-examination by defence counsel Antouman Gaye, the witness
was asked how long the accused was in their custody. The witness
responded that he did not know.
The defence counsel asked the witness to look at the statements that
were tendered in court as exhibits. He was then asked whether the
accused was in their custody at the NIA from 9th July to October 2014.
The witness responded in the positive.
“When was he taken there?” Counsel Gaye enquired. “I don’t know,’ the witness responded.
The witness was asked whether he told the accused that he has the
right to consult a lawyer before making any statement. “I can’t
remember,” responded the witness.
“I’m putting it to you that you never told him he has the right to a
lawyer?” “I can’t remember,” replied constable Sowe.
The witness was asked whether he told the accused why he was taken to
the NIA. He responded that he was not at the NIA on the day the
accused was taken there.
When asked how long he has been in the service, the witness told
the court that he has been serving for two and a half years now.
Asked which month and year was he enlisted in the service, he said it
was on the 2nd September, 2012.
Ndey Haddy Jeng, a deputy chief protocol at the president’s office,
also testified as the fourth prosecution witness (PW4).
PW4 told the court that her responsibility as the deputy chief
protocol entails a lot but that specifically she assists the chief of
protocol to organise the schedules of the president, appointments,
travels, meetings and any other assignment.
The deputy chief of protocol said she recognised the accused person in
his capacity as the former Secretary General and Minister of
She told the court that sometime in May 2014, the president was to
travel to South Africa for the inauguration of President Jacob Zuma.
Madam Jeng said she usually travels in advance before the president to
sort out logistical arrangements prior to the arrival of the president
and that she usually travelled with an advance delegation.
PW4 said for the South African trip, she travelled with several
ministers, security personnel and protocol officers.
She adduced that few days after, she was informed that the president
will no longer be travelling to South Africa but that is the vice
president instead. She said that her role then changed as there was a
protocol for the vice president whom she assisted for logistical
arrangements such as accommodation for the programme.
The deputy chief protocol told the court that the schedule was
changed on the day of the departure from Banjul and that she was to
inform the members of the delegation about it and which she did. She
said she informed the ministers to join the vice president in her
hotel so that they can travel together to the airport. She said at the
time she called the accused who at the time, was on a meeting with
the honorary consul of the Gambia in South Africa in a different
PW4 told the court that she informed the accused that he should join
the vice president and that the accused said he will. She said the
vice president arrived at the airport but did not see the accused. She
said she called both the honorary consul and the accused to find out
their location and they responded that they were on their way coming
to the airport. She said they waited for a while and that after about
15 minutes the accused arrived and they boarded the aircraft and left
Under cross-examination, defence counsel Gaye asked the witness
whether the atmosphere was very cordial when the accused arrived at
the aircraft. The witness replied in the positive.
When the witness was asked who instructed for the changed time, he
responded that it was commander Ansumana Tamba of State Guard.
The deputy chief of protocol was asked whether in terms of government
hierarchy the vice president was the superior of the accused. She
responded in the positive.
When PW4 was asked whether Johannesburg is a busy city with a lot of
traffic, she responded in the positive.
“During the time you communicated to the accused and the honorary
consul, they told you they were on their way coming but were cut off
by the traffic?”
The witness told the court that accused response was that he had
finished his meeting and was rushing to the airport.
The case continues today at 11am.
By Rohey Jadama