Lawyer challenges witness testimony in case of GNPC officials

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Senior Counsel S.M. Tambadou yesterday challenged the testimony of the first prosecution witness, in the GNPC case involving former Petroleum Minister, Sira Wally Ndow-Njai and 8 others, before Justice O. Ottaba of the Special Criminal Court in Banjul.

The accused persons are Sira Wally Ndow-Njai, Momodou O.S. Badjie, Fafa Sanyang, Cherno Marena, Seedy Kanyi, Muntaga Momodou Sallah, Momodou Taal, Louie Moses Mendy and Noah Touray.

When the case was called, DPP S.H. Barkun appeared for the state alongside Ade and A. Yakubu.

Senior Counsel A.A.B. Gaye, S.M. Tambadou, O.M.M. Njie, C. Gaye, L.S. Camara, A.N.D. Bensouda, H.S. Sabally, R.Y. Mendy, B. Conteh, Y. Senghore, B. Bouye, E. Chimmeh, C.E. Mene, S. Taal and S. Sillah appeared for the defendants.

Continuing his testimony, Bakary Darboe, a police officer and the first prosecution witness (PW1), said they received a contract document from GNPC and a tabulation which explains it.

The document was a contract signed between GNPC and March Trading, adding that the tabulation explains the losses incurred during the implementation of the contract.

 He said the above-mentioned are the two main documents he could remember.

Under cross-examination, counsel S.M. Tambadou asked the witness how long he had served the police force.

“25 years, 8 months,” he said.

“Was there any investigation team set up for the investigation of this case?” counsel asked.

“Yes,” Darboe answered.

“How many people were on the team?” 

“The number is four.” 

“Were you part of the team?” 

“Yes.”

“Were you the head of the team?”

“I was not the head of the team.”

“Apart from obtaining cautionary statements, what other role did you play?”

“I did not play any other role apart from taking cautionary statements.”

“Were you the only one taking cautionary statements?”

“No, Sir.”

“The members of the team - were they all police?”

“No, Sir.”

“Can you tell the court the names of the members of the team?”

“Bakary Darboe, Baba Danso, Dawda Ndure, and Yankuba Kinteh.”

“How many statements did you obtain from the 1st accused?”

“I obtained one statement from her.”

“Who obtained the other statements?”

“I wouldn’t know that at this time.”

“Who has custody of the other statements that you obtained from the 1st accused?”

“As far as I know, the statement is in the custody of the state prosecutor.”

“You will agree with me that two other cautionary statements were obtained from the 1st accused.”

“There is a possibility. My statement, the one I obtained, was an additional statement.”

“Two other cautionary statements were obtained from the 1st accused, on 1 and 28 June 2016.”

“I am not denying it.”

“Can you produce those statements?”

“I cannot; they are not in my possession.”

“Look at exhibit A. This paragraph is answering to questions?”

“Yes.”

“Now you recorded the answers. Why don’t you record the questions?”

“The statement was recorded by the 1st accused.”

“You will agree with me that the 1st accused was recording answers.”

“Yes.”

“Where is the questionnaire that you gave to the 1st accused, from which questions she gave these answers to?” 

“The questionnaire must have been in the case file.”

“Can you produce the questionnaire in court?” 

“I cannot produce it.”

“Why?”

“Because I’m not in custody of the document”

“Where is the case file for this case?”

“The case file was sent to the AG Chambers.”

“When did the first investigation into this case start?” 

“I can’t remember.”

“When did the second investigation start?”

“I still can’t remember exactly. I think it was late June.”

“When did the 3rd investigation into this case start?”

“I don’t know of any 3rd investigation in this case.”

“Where is the report of the 1st investigation?” 

“I cannot tell that in court.”

“Why can’t you tell the court where the report is. Who has it? Who kept it?” 

“I was not part of the 1st investigation team.”

“Which investigation team did you belong to, 1st, 2nd, or 3rd?”

“2nd team, my lord.”

“Where is the report of your 2nd team?”

“It was sent to the AG Chambers.”

“Do you remember the date of the report?” 

“I can’t remember the date.”

“Who wrote the second report?”

“It was written by the panel.”

“Is it your report that alleged the loss of 12 million dollars and 9 million dollars?”

“No, Sir.”

“How much loss did your report allege?”

“If my memory serves me well, it is little over 7 million dollars.” 

“You referred to a tabulation, do you have it?”

“Yes.” 

“Is it the tabulation that you used to arrive at the loss at this stage?”

“Yes.”

The tabulation was given to the witness, and he said he recognised it.

“Your investigation team relied on this tabulation?” 

“Yes.”

Counsel then applied to tender the tabulation documents; the DPP objected, but it was tendered in court and marked in evidence as an exhibit.

Hearing continues today. 

Author: Halimatou Ceesay