By Rohey Jadama
Hadi Saleh Barkun, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has yesterday 30 June cross-examined Mr. Momodou Sabally, the former Secretary General and Head of the Civil Service and the Minister for Presidential Affairs, at the Banjul High Court before Justice Emmanuel Amadi.
When the case was called, Director of Public Prosecutions S.H Barkun appeared for the state whilst Lawyer Antouman Gaye represented the accused person.
While responding to questions from the DPP, the former presidential affairs minister told the court that when he became Secretary General he called PW1 (Sheikh Omar Bah) and gave him a personal advice on the sensitivity of his position given the trust bestowed on him by the President.
“You have made it known to this court that PW10 donated his cars, did you find out from him about the reason for donating such expensive cars to the president?” asked the DPP.
“After he (Ndoye) presented the cars as donation in the same setting he also said he wanted to do business with the government in the field of urban development”, responded the former presidential affairs minister.
“Did you take the cars from him as a donation in consideration of his bid to do business with the government in urban development?” asked the DPP.
“I took the cars to the president as donation with no conditions attached”, responded Sabally.
“Is there any document evidencing that Ndoye donated the cars?” ask DPP, “No,” said Sabally.
“Did you ask for any document evidencing the good intention of Ndoye to the government”, asked the DPP. The erstwhile SG responded in the negative.
Counsel asked, “Did you write any commendation to Ndoye for the donation of the vehicles?” Sabally said, “No I thanked him verbally.
Counsel asked, “Did you really thank him and it is contained in your statement at the NIA?” Sabally answered, “I did not remember whether I did that or not.”
Counsel asked, “There was a suggestion that you wanted to keep the vehicles as a collateral for doing business with Ndoye, did you have this in mind when you were taking the vehicles particularly when he manifested his intension of doing business with government?”, Sabally responded in the negative.
“Will it not be safer to ask him why he wants to donate the vehicles if your story is true?”, asked the DPP.
Sabally responded that he was satisfied that twice in the presence of third parties Ndoye clearly said that he was donating vehicles as gifts to the president. He said Mr. Ndoye mentioned it in the presence of PW1 and PW2 and when he was with General Saul Badjie and Lieutenant Colonel Tamba at the state house. He further added that at the beginning, PW1 called and told him that Ndoye has two cars that he wants to donate to the president.
“Can you tell the court any reason why PW1 and PW2 should tell lies against you about the issue of donation when they swear by the Holy Quran”, asked the DPP.
“When they came to testify at the NIA I was under custody at the NIA at the time. They said the cars were for sale because of the financial benefit they will gain from Ndoye, because at that time no charge was preffered against me yet and if they could convince the investigators that the cars were for sale they (PW1 and PW2) would have been compensated by Ndoye”, said the former presidential Affairs Minister.
“Both PW1 and PW2 were here to give evidence, did you put this this idea to them?”, asked the DPP. Antouman Gaye, the Defence counsel for Mr Sabally objected to this question arguing that the accused is not the lawyer conducting the case. However the objection was overruled by the presiding judge.
In answering the question Mr Sabally said “No because as a novice in litigation I thought my role was to be present and stand in the dock whilst my able lawyer does the job”.
“Did you realise that in exhibit PIA that PW1 drew your attention of the sale of the vehicle even whilst you were still in office as SG?”, asked the DPP.
“I stand by that statement and the entire statement as contained in the exhibit,“ said Sabally.
“So it was brought to your attention whilst you were at your office as SG that the cars were for sale,” asked the DPP.
“Yes and I was shocked and I refuted it in my statement,” responded Sabally.
“What did you do when it was brought to your attention, why did you not go back to the president and tell him that the owner of the vehicles is asking for money?” asked the DPP.
“Out of respect for the president and as a matter of principle I told PW1 that I will never go back to the president and ask him to pay for items that were given to him as a donation”, replied Ex- SG Sabally.
At this juncture, the case was adjourned to today 1st July, 2015 at 11am for continuation of cross-examination.