By Rohey Jadama
Counsel Antouman Gaye has cross-examined Mr. Ousman Keita, the sixth
prosecution witness (PW6), and a photographer at the office of the
vice president, in the case involving the erstwhile secretary general
and minister of presidential affairs, Momodou Sabally, yesterday April 28th, 2015 before Justice Emmanuel Amadi of the Banjul High Court.The state was represented by Hadi Saleh Barkum, the Director of Public
Prosecution (DPP) and assisted by state counsel Olimatou Danso, while
senior counsel Gaye and Segga Gaye represented the accused.
Responding to questions from the defence counsel, Mr. Keita told the
court that all the Gambian delegates attended Thabo Mbeki’s
ceremony, including the accused.
“You told the court that the accused was late for 1 hour 30 minutes.
Was that in your evidence?” enquired the defence counsel. The witness
responded in the positive.
Counsel Gaye asked the witness whether when the accused arrived at the
aircraft, he (the accused) said he had an assignment and was waiting
to bring some materials to bring along to South Africa. “That was what
he said and he said it openly inside the plane,” said the witness.
“I am putting it to you that he said this to the vice president,”
insisted the lawyer. “I cannot confirm that,” said the witness.
“You want the court to believe that the accused said it to everyone on
board the aircraft?” asked the defence counsel.
However, DPP objected to the question. He argued that the defence
counsel is putting something wrong in the mouth of the witness because
the witness never mentioned that. Replying to the objection of the
DPP, senior counsel Gaye said the objection is misconceived and that
he did not put any contention to the witness rather he asked a
question. He therefore urged the court to overrule the objection and
allow the witness to answer.
In his ruling, the trial Judge said he has listened to both sides.
However, he said he did not see any harm to the prosecution’s side if
the witness answers the said question. “I therefore overruled the
objection and allow the witness to answer. The attitudes of both the
prosecution and the defence counsel are hostile towards each other
since in the beginning,” remarked the judge.
DPP then apologized to counsel Gaye, adding “If my attitude offended
him, I never intended to disrespect my learned senior.”
Counsel Gaye, for his part, said when things like this occur according
to the code of conduct they are to go to court and settle it, but that
he is not complaining. “If the court believes that we are hostile
against each other, I am sorry,” he said.
He said he regards the DPP as a very respectful person and that he
sees him as someone doing an advocacy but that there is nothing
Answering the said question, the witness said he did not hear anything
from the VP.
The witness was further asked whether he reads newspapers about this
case. He responded that sometimes he does but not always.
“I’m putting it to you that the assignment is given to the accused by
the president,” said the defence counsel. “I don’t know,” responded
Mr. Keita was asked who could not attend the ceremony of President
Jacob Zuma amongst the delegates apart from the accused.
The DPP objected to the question, but the trial judge intervened and
asked the witness to answer the question. The witness told the court
that it was only the accused who did not attend the ceremony.
The witness said the then minister of foreign affairs, the minister of
higher education, research, science and technology and the former vice
chancellor of the University of The Gambia were there.
He was asked whether Ndey Haddy Jeng (PW4) was there. “I heard she was
there but I did not see her,” said the witness.
The trial judge interjected and told the witness to tell the court
what he saw and not what he heard. “I did not see her,” responded the
“I’m am putting it to you that the accused was late because of two
reasons and the first reason is he was on a meeting with Mr. Lette
about the assignment he was given by the president and the second
reason is that there was a lot of traffic along the way,” said counsel
Gaye. “I don’t know,” said the witness.
The witness was asked what the response of the accused was when the
time of departure was made known to him. “I was not there when it was
communicated to him,” he responded. “Did you say anywhere that the
accused said that he would not leave for Banjul until he finished his
assignment and that the vice president was unhappy and responded
negatively?” enquired the defence counsel. “Yes, I said that in my
statement at the NIA.”
The case is adjourned to today 29th April 2015 at 2pm.
By Rohey Jadama