By Rohey Jadama
Mr. Edward Graham, the Managing Director of Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation (SSHFC), has told the Banjul High court that investing in education for the acquisition of the required skills and knowledge is one of the policies of his institution.
Mr. Graham said this while responding to questions during cross-examination by Antouman Gaye, counsel for Mr. Momodou Sabally, the erstwhile Secretary General, Head of the Civil Service and Minister for Presidential Affairs yesterday, 14th May, 2015 before Justice Emmanuel Amadi.
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, denies any wrong doing.
The former SG, in one of the counts, is alleged to have caused economic loss to Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation to the tune of Four Hundred and Two Thousand Five Hundred dalasi (D402, 500) by unduly influencing the said Corporation to fund the Youth Career Development Programme organised by one Mariama Sillah without recourse to due process.
The SSHFC MD said Ms. Sillah made a verbal update of the progress of the programme and also invited the Corporation to witness the programme in action.
“The Assistance the Corporation gave to Mariama Sillah was not unusual, but it’s normal?” lawyer Gaye quizzed witness. “In terms of investing in education, it’s not an unusual investment”, responded the witness.
“The assistance the cooporation gave to Ms. Sillah, did you make similar assistance to other government departments?” defence lawyer Gaye enquired. “I am not in the position to answer that question,” the witness responded.
“When you say you are not in the position to answer that, what do you mean?” asked lawyer Gaye. “It is difficult to know whether they are similar assistance,” responded Mr. Graham.
“Your Corporation do give out assistance whether similar to Ms. Sillah’s or not?” “I am not aware of that.”
“Did your Corporation buy computers for the ministry of Justice?” The witness remarked, “I’m not aware of it.”
“I put it to you that your Corporation did buy computers for the ministry of justice,” said senior counsel Gaye. “They may have, but I can’t remember,”, responded the social security managing director.
At this juncture, the case was adjourned to Monday, 18th May, 2015 for the testimony of the eighth prosecution witness (Pw8).