Veronic Carayol: “I am a very reliable and credible witness”

By Mamadou Dem
Veronic Carayol, erstwhile Deputy Commissioner of Enforcement atVeronic Carayol
the Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) while giving evidence under cross examination refuted the prosecution’s allegation that she is not a truthful witness.The first defence witness testified that it is correct that she is
educated and went as far as Form 6. She said it is also correct that she
was arrested in September 2014 by members of the National Intelligence
Agency (NIA)
“While on detention at the NIA you made a statement to them?” asked
Police Prosecutor ASP Musa Camara, to which the witness replied in the
affirmative; adding that she made a series of statements while in
custody.
She confirmed to the court that she was working for the Gambia Revenue
Authority under the Customs Department and GRA issued the enforcement
unit with a vehicle with registration number GRA 63.
“It is correct you were the head of the enforcement unit at the time?”
quizzed the prosecutor.
“Yes I was the head of the enforcement unit, “she replied.
According to the witness, the said vehicle was under her control as per
the then GRA Commissioner General and one William Jatta was the
official driver to the vehicle. She added that she is still affirming
the statement that the said vehicle carried neither diapers nor
merchandise or her sister’s employees.
Further testifying before the court, the accused told the court that
the purpose of sending Mr. Jatta to her sister’s store was to hand
over the keys to the store to one Ebrima Njie.  She refuted the
allegation uttered by the prosecution that she is untruthful to the
court.
The prosecutor said, “I put it to you that your entire evidence in-chief is false which is
intended to throw dust into the court’s eye.”
“I strongly say that my whole statement is nothing but the truth plus
all other statements that were taken while I was in custody,” she
responded.
ASP Camara: “I put it to you further that your evidence in-chief is an
afterthought, the truth of the matter is to be found in Exhibits B, B1
and C respectively.”
“I totally disagree with that allegation and I stand by what I wrote,”
DW1 insisted.
Ms. Carayol further refuted the allegations that she received unsolicited
gifts from the business community; adding that nobody was brought
before the court to say such allegations against her.
According to the witness, she narrated to investigators about an
incident way back in 1984-85 when they were offered money  by one
clearing agent to buy lunch which she wanted to put in her statement
but she was told at the NIA to write in her statement that he/she
offered them money to buy lunch.
“I put it to you further that you have been exposed as an untruthful
witness,” alleged Camara.
“I am a very reliable and credible witness,” said the witness.
The erstwhile deputy commissioner informed the court that she was
unable to tender documents while under custody at the NIA. She said
there are outstanding millions dating as far back as 2009 yet to be
paid by the business community.
She said prior to her position as deputy commissioner of enforcement,
she was ports clearance manager.
“As deputy commissioner of enforcement, did your job description entail
recovery of debts?”
“Yes,” replied the witness.
See our subsequent edition for the rest of her testimony while under
cross-examination. Meanwhile, the matter is adjourned till 21
April for the defence to tell the court whether they would want to re-examine the
witness or not.