Petroleum PS testifies in the case of predecessor

By Mamadou Dem

Mr. Sanyang, the current Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Petroleum and third prosecution witness (PW3), in the ongoing Computer “Theft” case involving his predecessor, Muntaga Sallah, yesterday, 17th   August, testified before Principal Magistrate Momodou S.M. Jallow of the Banjul Magistrates’ Court.

According to Mr. Sanyang, on the 17th of June this year, he was in his office at the ministry when some operatives from the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) came to him and asked about the procurement of computers. He said he wrote a statement and stated that the accused proposed to hold a meeting with one company in The Gambia called “CAMAC.”

The witness told the Court that he was not in support of the procurement of new work stations and decided to express his opinion during the meeting that they should upgrade the two work stations which they already have and also to conduct training for their staff. He said a memo was written indicating that they should buy three work stations.

“Even though we have discussed it, my opinion was not to buy new work stations,” said the witness.

PW3 added that prior to being Permanent Secretary, he was the Commissioner for Petroleum but could not remember being informed about the situation of the work stations.

“Where you also not at the bi-weekly senior management meeting that the work stations where indeed okay?” quizzed the prosecutor. “I can’t remember that,” replied the witness.

“Have you ever seen the work stations?” “No,” said PW3.

At that juncture, Mr. Sallah’s attorney, Loubna Farage, interjected and argued that the trend in which the prosecutor was guiding the witness is leading him. She cited section 198 subsection (2) of the Evidence Act to support her argument.

In reply, Police Prosecutor Sub-Inspector Alpha Badjie contended that the witness has talked about the bi-weekly management meetings and facts pertaining to that meeting can be dwelled on by the witness. He, therefore, urged the court to allow the question.

The objection was upheld by the court and the prosecutor was asked to rephrase the question.

The witness responding to another question said “All I know about the work stations is that I’ve never seen them.”

Under cross- examination, the witness testified that he was commissioner of petroleum since 2006.

“Who is CAMAC Energy Gambia Limited?” asked counsel. The witness responded that it is a company based in the Gambia.

Readers would recall that Mr. Sallah is standing trial for allegedly stealing three HP computers valued at 25,400 dollars (approximately 990,600 dalasi).

According to the particulars of offence, Mr. Sallah while serving as permanent secretary at the ministry of petroleum, without approval, purchased three HP computers worth $25, 445 which he later stole and took them to his home in Senegambia.

It is also alleged that the accused has stolen three HP computers worth $25,445 which he knew belonged to The Gambia government.

Mr. Sallah is also accused of abusing his office when he instructed, without approval, for the purchase of the computers.

The incident is said to have happened in the month of November 2014 in Banjul.

He, however, pleaded not guilty as charged.

The case continues on the 20th August for continuation of cross-examination by the defence.