By Rohey Jadama
Antouman Gaye, defence counsel for Mr. Momodou Sabally, the former Secretary General, Head of the Civil Service and Minister of Presidential Affairs, has cross-examined Mr. Alhassan Ndoye, the tenth prosecution witness (PW10), yesterday, 10th June 2015, before Justice Emmanuel Amadi of the Banjul High court.
Mr. Ndoye, while responding to questions from counsel, told the court that he was also known as |Muhammed Ndoye. He said his vehicles were brought to the Gambia in 2014 but not in 2013.
When the defence counsel asked PW10 whether he was sure it was in 2014, he responded that it could be at the end of 2013 but that what he can recall is 2014.
“Last year you were at the NIA, were you not?” asked counsel Gaye. The witness responded in the positive. When asked whether the officers of the NIA brought him face to face with the accused person, he responded in the positive.
When the witness was asked whether that confrontation was videotaped by the NIA officers, the DPP objected, arguing that the witness would not be in the position to answer the question. However, his objection was overruled by the judge. The witness responded in the positive.
The witness was asked whether he made a statement at the NIA and signed it. “Yes” said the witness. “Do you know one Gambian by the name Omar Sey?” “I cannot remember”, responded the witness. Counsel asked, “Was Omar Sey not the one who told you to bring your cars to the Gambia for Sale?” The witness answered, “I recall now, it was Omar Sey who called me by telephone and told me that General Badjie has seen the photograph of the vehicle?” Counsel asked, “What else did you tell him?” The witness answered, “I told him to come to my home in Senegal and for him to fuel the vehicle to take it to Banjul.”
The witness added that Mr. Sey told him that if the vehicle on the photo is what he is selling then they will buy it.
“Did Omar not tell you that he knows someone in the Gambia who will be able to keep you in touch with General Badjie?” asked counsel Gaye. ”Yes he said so,” responded the witness.
Mr. Ndoye further told the court that the vehicles were brought to the Gambia and that they are still in the Gambia.
“Is it true that you kept on moving from one hotel to the other?” enquired Counsel Gaye. “Yes that’s true,” responded the witness.
“After 3 months of your arrival in the Gambia, you were not able to see General Badjie?” asked the defence counsel. The witness responded in the positive.
Counsel asked, “When you spoke to him about your cars, he told you nobody told him about it, but that in any event buying and selling of cars is not part of his responsibility but that of the protocol officer?” The witness answered, “Yes that’s true but he added that if he was the one who was interested in the vehicle, he would have provided me with an escort.” Counsel added, “I put it to you that what you said General Badjie added is an after thought.” The witness answered, “I’m under oath.”
“What General Badjie added you forget to include that in your statement at the NIA?” enquired Barrister Gaye. “Maybe it is in my statement,” said the witness. Counsel emphasized, “I put it to you that you are being evasive and that you don’t want to answer the question.” At this stage, the DPP said the witness cannot remember everything in his evidence.
“I’m not evasive,” responded the witness. “I put it to you that what you said General Badjie added is not in your statement,” insisted Counsel Gaye. “Yes it is not in my statement,” admitted the witness.
Counsel asked, “Is it correct that Omar Sey told you when you come to the Gambia that the transaction of selling the vehicle may take 3 days?” The witness responded in the positive. He added that after the failure of his discussion with General Badjie someone introduced him to PW2, who in turn introduced him to PW1, and that it was through PW2 and PW1 that he came to meet Momodou Sabally, the accused.
The witness was asked whether the vehicles passed through customs when they came to the Gambia. “Yes and I paid the customs duties,” he responded.
Counsel Gaye therefore requested for the receipts as evidence payment of customs duties.
“When I came to the customs, I was not given any customs receipt. I was not given any customs receipt but if it is necessary, I’ll go and get it,” said the witness.
“Did you pay the customs duties?” asked Counsel Gaye. “Yes, I paid 50,000 for the two vehicles,” responded PW10.
When asked whether he demanded for a receipt, the witness said he asked for it but was told to go because there was a problem.
“You want the court to believe that you paid D50, 000 and the customs did not give you a receipt and told you to go?” asked Counsel Gaye. “I don’t know laws of the Gambia and I was told to go and I complied,” responded the witness.
“I put it to you that you smuggled the vehicles to the Gambia and you did not pay customs duties,” said defence counsel Gaye.
The DPP objected to the question, arguing that smuggling is an offence. This question prompted the judge to intervene and tell the counsel that the question he was asking will incriminate the witness.
At this juncture, the defence counsel said when they come at the next adjourned date, they will address the court on it.
The case resumes today at 1pm for continuation of hearing.