Businessman Testifies in Pa Malick and Co Trial

By Rohey Jadama
Mr. Demba Jallow, a Businessman at Farouk Trading, yesterday 16th
June testified as first prosecution witness (PW1) in the trialPa Malick Ceesay
involving Pa Malick Ceesay, the erstwhile National Assembly Member for
Lower Saloum Constituency and former Coordinator of NationalEnterprise Development Initiative (NEDI), and Ismaila Njie, the former
Accountant of NEDI.
The state was represented by the Director of Public Prosecutions and
the accused persons were represented by Counsel Edward A. Gomez.
PW1 told the court that he is a business man and that he lives in
Farato and that he deals in food stuffs at Farouk Trading. He said he
recognised the accused persons.
Continuing his testimony, Mr. Jallow told the court that sometime in
2009 he met with the NEDI officials. He said Pa Malick Ceesay told him
that they have a project which will be investing in petty trading
and that they asked him the prices of the goods. He said after
sometime the accused persons came to him again and told him that they
were interested in buying from him.
PW1 adduced that himself, Ceesay and Njie listed the items that they
were interested in and that the accused persons provided their own
trucks to take the goods. He said after loading the goods, he told
them to pay him and that he was told that the 2nd accused person will
come and pay him.
Mr. Jallow told the court that he was later paid an amount of 1.5
million dalasi when what he supplied them was over 2 million dalasi.
He said he supplied them for the second time and was paid six-hundred
thousand (600,000) leaving a balance of D45, 000 which they should
repay him.
“Before the end of 2014, I was called by the Serious Crime Unit to
write a statement and I even regretted  why I did business with them,”
said the witness.
PW1 told the court that every now and then he receives call from the
police asking him to go and answer. He said Mr. Njie (the second
accused) is the one who was normally doing the payments.
The witness further told the court that his understanding  was that
Mr. Ceesay is the head of NEDI and that Mr. Njie is the one who issues
the cheques.
He said when he told the police that he still has not received all the
money owed to him, he was asked by them to write and request for D45, 000
balance owed to him and to submit it to them.
He told the court that after sometime he was eventually paid his money.
Under cross-examination by defence counsel Gomez, the witness was
asked whether his business is registered and he responded in the
positive.
He was asked whether he told the court that he made two supplies to
the accused persons. The witness responded in the affirmative.
“The supplies, were they made with invoices and do the accused persons
signed them?” enquired the defence counsel. “I cannot remember,”
responded the witness.
“As a prudent businessman, you will keep records of your business
transactions. Do you have the records of the transactions that
transpired between you and the accused?” asked counsel Gomez. “Yes”
said the witness.
When asked who signed it, the witness said he does not know, adding
“the only thing I know is what I signed.”
“Are you telling the court that you don’t know if any of them signed
it?” asked counsel Gomez. “I don’t know,” responded the witness.
“Would it have been normal for them to sign it?”, quizzed Lawyer
Gomez. The witness responded in the positive.
The witness was asked to tell the court why the documents were not
signed and that whether the two accused persons signed it. “I can’t
remember,” said the witness.
When asked whether he has the copies of those documents and whether he
will be able to produce them, the witness responded in the positive.
The said document was produced by the DPP and the witness was asked to
take a look at it by the defence.
Counsel Gomez told the court that he wishes to tender it in court as
an exhibit. However, there was no objection from the DPP. It was
therefore admitted and marked as defence exhibit A.
“Mr. Jallow, you told this court that the invoice was signed by you?”
asked counsel Gomez. “Yes,” replied the witness.
“Take a look at it and indicate where your signature is?” “There is no
signature. “
“In order words you did not sign?” enquired Gomez. The witness
responded in the positive.
The witness was asked to whom was the invoice addressed to. “To the
NEDI Director General,” he responded.
When asked whether he provided the accused persons with a copy, he
responded in the positive.
“I’m right to say that those trucks were driven by the military?,”
ask the defence counsel. “I don’t know, but the trucks were under the
instruction of the accused,” responded the witness.
The witness was asked to tell the court whether the cheques that were
paid for the business have signatures on them. “I don’t know”,
responded the witness.
The witness was further asked whether there were only two transactions
between him and the accused persons and he responded in the positive.
“The only regret you had was the balance of D45, 000 and the numerous
phone calls from the police?” asked the defence counsel. “Yes,”
replied the witness.
At this juncture, the case was adjourned to 6th of July, 2015 at
12noon for the testimony of the second prosecution witness (PW2).