Defence witness cross-examined in Waa Juwara & Co trial

Tuesday, March 17, 2015
The state prosecutor yesterday cross-examined one Tamsir Onasis Konteh, a local businessman, and the first accused in the trial involving him and Lamin Waa Juwara, the former minister of lands and Hamidou Jallow, principal lands and valuation officer at the Ministry of Lands and Surveys, at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court before principal magistrate Dawda Jallow.

Under cross-examination by state counsel Abdourahman Bah, Mr Konteh told the court that the late MB Bojang, the former alkalo of Tanji, was a family brother as their two mothers share the same mother and father.

He knew one Cherno Bojang, who is his brother and their relationship is purely based on family ties, since their two parents share the same mother and father, adding that he got the land in Tanji as family inheritance.

Asked by the state counsel if he would be surprised to know that Cherno Bojang told the court that he did not see any transfer of land, when he was an alkalo of Tanji village, Konteh informed the court that he would be very surprised to hear that, because when he was testifying he was asked by the court whether he had land in Tanji, and he replied in the affirmative.

He said Cherno had seen his documents regarding the said plots of land in Tanji village, and had told the court that he had presented all the documents related to his land to the Ministry of Lands and Surveys, when he was applying for his compensation.

Further asked whether anybody had witnessed the transfer of the said land to his name, Mr Konteh said “yes”, citing the plots of land his mother gave him, his brother and the alkalo of Tanji.

He said when he gave him a car it was he (Konteh) and Mr Jammeh and his driver, but they did not sign the transfer documents to that effect.

“When I was requesting for my compensation, in the letter written to me by the ministry I included it and other relevant documents I submitted to the ministry, when I was claiming for compensation,” he said.

He said he had acquired those plots of land since 1992, and he applied for the compensation in 2000, noting that he had been paying his dues since he acquired the land.

“I have all proofs as all the documents were handed over to the local government authority,” he told the court.

Asked by the state counsel whether he would be surprised again that the Brikama Area Council authority had said, through searching in their records concerning the land he claimed to own, that they did not see any which indicated the name of Tamsir Onasis Konteh.

“I will be surprised, if Brikama Area Council said that they did not see my records. I have made it clear since in my evidence-in-chief that I have handed over to the department of lands,” Mr Konteh replied.

When it was further put to him that the reason why Brikama Area Council said they did not see any records about the payment of rates was because he did not even have land, he said he had been paying his rates since he acquired the plots of land in 1992.

The case was adjourned to 25 March 2015.

Author: Bakary Samateh
Source: Picture: Lamin Waa Juwara, the former minister of lands