PROSECUTION CLOSES CASE IN SABALLY’S ECONOMIC CRIME TRIAL Did the witness donate his vehicles or not?

By Rohey Jadama

The prosecution yesterday 17th June 2015 closed its case in the trial of Mr. Momodou Sabally, Modou Sabally SGMinister of Presidential Affairs. Mr. Alhassan Ndoye, the tenth prosecution witness (PW10), denied donating two vehicles, saying that if he were to donate them he will give them to a hospital.

Mr. Ndoye said this before Justice Emmanuel  Amadi of the Special Criminal Division of the Banjul high Court.

Sabally, also the former Secretary General and Head of the Civil Service is charged with two counts of ‘Economic Crimes’, three on ‘Abuse of Office’, two counts of ‘Neglect of Official duty’ and a single count on ‘Giving False information to a Public Officer’. He however pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

Mr.  Ndoye while responding under cross-examination, to questions from Antouman Gaye Defence counsel for Mr. Sabally told the court that he went to see the Senegalese Ambassador about his vehicles.

“He told you there is nothing he could do because when you were bringing the vehicles you did not tell him?” asked Barrister Gaye.

“What the Ambassador told me was that this is the third time that someone has been ripped off by the government of the Gambia,” responded the witness.

This prompted the judge to ask the witness whether the Ambassador opened his mouth and told the witness that. The witness responded in the positive.

“The last answer you told the court is one of the lies you have been telling this court”, quizzed Counsel Gaye.

“I have respect for you but everything that I say in this court is the truth”, the witness responded exasperatedly with a frown in his face.

“Will you be surprised that PW1 told the court that you never discussed price with the accused?” asked Layer Gaye.

“Yes I will be surprised,“ said the witness. “I put it to you that the accused person never asked you when you are going to take your money?” The witness responded that the accused did tell him to come next week.

Counsel Gaye added, “I put it to you that the accused never asked you to come back whether is next week or any other time?”

The witness still maintained that the accused told him to come back.

Mr. Ndoye was asked whether he had a contract with the accused for the sale of these vehicles.

“Yes but it was incomplete because it was not filled up and that it is the unfilled Exhibits P7 and P8.

The said exhibit was shown to him and he was asked whether he was referring to that as a contract.

“Yes this would be the contract after the sales have been executed,” said the witness.

“I put it to you that Exhibits P7 and P8 are worthless and useless documents,” replied the witness.

“The two exhibits are important because if I have been paid my money I will give them a title,” he said.

Gaye asked, “Who should have paid you your money?”   “The former secretary General because he is the one representing the Gambia government,” replied the witness. “No one owes you anything especially the accused,” said the lawyer.  “Of course he owes me,” said the witness.

Mr. Ndoye  told the court that when he went to state house for an appointment at state house with General Saul Badjie he saw one of his vehicles parked at state house while the second had been taken out and the driver was talking to someone.

He said he approached the driver and told him that the truck was not been paid for. He continued “I told Captain Tamba that I saw my two vehicles leaving the state house and I have not been paid,” and Tamba told me that there is nothing he could do about it.

He further told the court that this happened almost 1 and a half years and that his appointment with General Badjie failed because Badjie told him that he was busy.

The witness was asked by Counsel Gaye whether he is a Senegalese and US citizen. The witness responded in the positive.

“Did you take the services of a lawyer in the US and Senegal   to either recover your vehicles or to get your money?” the witness replied in the negative.

“Have you engaged the services of a lawyer in the Gambia”, asked barrister Gaye. The witness answered, “No but I consulted someone in the Gambia.”

The defence counsel told the witness that the vehicle he saw going and parked at state house was donated by him. “I did not donate them and if I were to donate I will give them to a the hospital,” replied Ndoye.

Gaye said, “I am putting it to you that your intention was in anticipation of being given a project.”

The witness remarked, “I have no intention of a project.”

Gaye remarked, “When the accused told you that the government project is not given like that, that was the time you made a U-turn and started to say that the vehicles were not for a donation.”

“I don’t deal in corruption and I did not donate them,” responded the witness.

At this juncture the Director of Public Prosecutions told the court that this is the case for the prosecution.

The Judge told Counsel Gaye the ball is in their court now. Responding to the judge, barrister Gaye applied for the accused person to open his defence on Monday but the judge said the accused will open his defence the same day.

“My lord it is the constitutional right of the accused to have sufficient time to prepare his defence. The accused came out of the remand wing yesterday at 5pm, why the rush,” said Barrister Gaye.

However, the application of the defence counsel was overruled by the judge. The judge said he did not see any necessity for them to open their defence on Monday because the counsel used the case of the accused to cross-examine 10 witnesses.

The case continues today 18 of June with Mr. Sabally to open his defence at 9:30 am.