By Rohey Jadama
Mr. Abdourahman Jobe, a police detective attached to police headquarters in Banjul, yesterday 16 February 2016 continued his testimony in the ongoing criminal trial involving Mr. Famara Dampha, the former Director of Fisheries and other two officials of the Fisheries department before Justice Basiru Mahoney of the Banjul High Court.
The two other accused persons are Abdoulie Njie, Senior Fisheries Assistant, and Musa Jawla, Assistant Fisheries Officer, of the same department under the then ministry of fisheries and water resources.
Lawyer Hawa Sisay-Sabally and Lamin S. Camara represented Mr. Dampha, while Lawyer Bachilly appeared for Mr. Jawla and Mr. Njie. The state was represented by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Hadi Saleh Bakun.
Continuing his testimony, Mr. Jobe told the Court that one Omar Faal was caught doing illegal fishing and was fined ten thousand by the inter-ministerial committee. He said the Director was responsible for the ten thousand dalasi fine at the time of their investigation and that they could not recover the amount simply because the offender did not honour the fine made against him.
The police detective further said that the audit report was compiled by the national audit office and that it was compiled in two folds. He said the first one was from January 2008 to August 2012.
At this stage, a copy of the audited report was shown to the witness and he recognized it. The DPP applied to tender it as an exhibit, but defence counsel Sisay-Sabally objected to the tendering of the document.
Sisay-Sabally argued that the witness is not the author of the said document. She said the report was addressed to the permanent secretary ministry of fisheries and copied to the permanent secretary office of the president and not to the Inspector General of Police.
Lawyer Sisay-Sabally cited sections 40 and 45 of the Evidence Act to support her argument and finally urged the court to reject the document.
At this stage, justice Mahoney adjourned the case to the next day, today, 17 February, 2016 at 3pm for ruling on the admissibility of the said report.
The following are the various counts of which the accused are alleged to have committed offences:
Count one states that Nfamara Dampha, Abdoulie Njie and Musa Jawla between the years 2013 and 2014 at Banjul in the Banjul Municipality within the jurisdiction of the court, being the Director of Fisheries Department, Senior Fisheries Assistant, and Assistant Fisheries Officer respectively at the Ministry of Fisheries and Department of Water Resources, willfully and or recklessly caused monetary loss to the Government of the Gambia by under-assessing 10% fishing catch revenue amounting to the sum of two million three hundred and Eighty Nine Thousand, Seven Hundred and Thirty Eight Dalasis, twenty five bututs (2, 389, 738.25).
Count two alleges that Mr. Dampha, in the year 2012, in his capacity as Director, willfully and or recklessly caused monetary loss to the Government of the Gambia by failing to recover the sum of three million, thirty four thousand one hundred and five butut being arrears from four fishing vessels.
Count three states that the 1st accused on the same date, year and place in his capacity as Director of fisheries willfully and or recklessly caused monetary loss to the Gambian Government by failing to recover the sum of ten thousand dalasis (10, 000) from one Omar Faal who was acting as an agent for two fishing vessels arrested for illegal fishing in the Gambian Waters.
In Count four, it is stated that the 1st accused between 2009 and 2014 at the same place being Director of fisheries failed to keep fuel coupon register book and thereby committed an offence. Count five states that the 1st accused in the year 2013 at the same place as Director of Fisheries willfully contravened the Gambia Public Procurement Act and Regulations and awarded contract to Taba Ni Sita construction.
Count five states that the 1st accused in the year 2013 at the same place as Director of Fisheries willfully contravened the Gambia Public Procurement Act and Regulations and awarded contract to Taba Ni Sita construction.