By Rohey Jadama
Mr Alhassan Ndoye, the tenth prosecution witness (PW10), who is based in the United States of America (USA), yesterday, 8th June 2015, continued his testimony in the ongoing economic crime trial involving Mr. Momodou Sabally, the former Secretary General, Head of the Civil Service and Minister of Presidential Affairs, before Justice Emmanuel Amadi of the Banjul High court.
Mr. Ndoye told the court that the paperwork is related to the sale of the vehicles or attestation of sale of vehicles. He added that whenever he does any transaction, it is always supported by documents which indicate that the vehicles have been received from him.
At this stage, the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Hadi Saleh Bakum asked the witness about the agreed price for the sale of the vehicle.
Senior counsel Antouman Gaye, the defence lawyer for Mr. Sabally, objected to this question, arguing that there is no evidence about the price of the vehicle and that none of the witnesses that previously testified mentioned the price.
The trial judge upheld the objection, adding that the DPP is suggesting answers to the witness.
Continuing his testimony, Mr. Ndoye told the court that when discussing with the accused he was asked about the cost of the vehicles and that he told him that each costs 60 million CFA. He said the accused told him that the price was expensive and that he (Sabally) offered 50 million CFA. He said in the bargaining, he finally offered 55 Million CFA for each, adding that the accused told him to give the documents to PW1 who will give it to him (Sabally).
PW10 said he wrote the attestation of sale between himself and the accused because the latter promised that the vehicles will be accepted.
At this juncture, he was asked by the DPP to tell the court about the content of the document.
Counsel Gaye objected to this question, arguing that the witness cannot tell the court about the content of a document which has not been tendered in court as an exhibit.
DPP then applied to tender the said document which was granted.
However, when the said document was given to the defence counsel to look at it, Counsel Gaye told the court that he was seeing the document for the first time and that based on that fact, they are objecting. “This is a high court, not a subordinate court. The witness should not come to court with the document,” said senior counsel Gaye.
The DPP said even though the defence counsel was not served with the said document, but reference has been made to it by PW1 and that he was cross-examined on it. He added that on the additional list of exhibits which they filed on the 1st June, they have made mention of the said document.
Responding to the DPP, counsel Gaye said he has never cross-examined PW1 on that particular document because he does not even know its contents. He urged the court to refer to the cross-examination of PW1.
The DPP was asked why he did not tender the document through PW1.
The objection of counsel Gaye was overruled by the presiding judge, he added that non service of the document is not a ground for non admissibility.
Defence said it is non compliance with the practice.
When the witness was asked how he will identify the said document, he responded “Because it mentioned the sale, mark and the price of the vehicle.” This response evoked laughter in the courtroom.
He replied that the document was not signed by Mr. Ndoye and the accused.
When the Court asked about the vehicles and their keys, the DPP responded that they are still with the accused.
Continuing his testimony, Mr. Ndoye told the court that PW1 said when he met with the orderly of the accused he told him “today you will have money”.
Defence counsel Gaye objected to this question, adding that it is hearsay and urged the court to expunge that piece of evidence.
DPP agreed with Counsel Gaye.
PW10 said he did not give the accused the ownership document because the transaction was incomplete as the accused did not sign it. The DPP applied to tender the said ownership document but it was objected to by the defence lawyer, who argued that it was not written in the language of the court i.e. English but rather in French.
The defence counsel cited section 46 of the Court Act to support his argument. He urged the court to overrule the objection. “My lord, this is a criminal matter not a civil case and as such nothing is taken for granted,” argued Counsel Gaye.
However, the trial judge overruled the objection and said the documents will be tendered with their translated versions. They were admitted as exhibit by the court.
PW10 said PW1 told him he has been sent by the accused who said he has three projects and wanted him to choose one of them.
At this juncture, the case was adjourned to Wednesday, 10th June at 12:30 am.
Mr. Sabally, who is reported to have been arrested again, was seen being escorted out of the courtroom by two men in plain clothes in the presence of his relatives and bystanders.