NEDI assistant secretary testifies in former Lower Saloum NAM & Co trial

Friday, July 10, 2015
NEDI assistant secretary Ida Jeng yesterday testified as the fourth prosecution witness (PW4) in the trial of former Lower Saloum NAM and former coordinator of National Enterprise Development Initiative (NEDI), Pa Malick Ceesay, and the former NEDI accountant, Ismaila Njie, before Justice Abi of the Banjul High Court.

Ida Jeng told the court that she has been working with NEDI since 2009, adding that she was the secretary at the time, but has now been made assistant secretary.

She said that when she was the secretary, she was on a month-to-month contract.

She knew the accused persons as the former the coordinator and accountant of NEDI, adding that she was working as secretary under the 1st accused, who was the coordinator of NEDI at the time.

When her mother was sick, she explained this to the 1st accused, and told him that she needed money and the 1st accused told her to apply for a loan, which she did.

She was given D50,000.

The payment voucher was shown to her in court, and she identified it.

DPP then applied to tender it in court, and it was admitted and marked in evidence, without any objection from the defence.

Continuing her testimony, PW4 said there was no guarantee for the loan, adding that it was agreed that when she would be confirmed as staff it would be deducted from her salary.

She said she did not sign any document regarding the loan, but she saw her confirmation in the minutes of the steering committee.

There was no payment plan, she said.

She further said that NEDI loans were paid in months sometimes.

She also stated when the accountant was not around, she used to collect loan repayments during her time as secretary, and when the accountant returned she would hand over the money to him.

In 2013, she received a call from PW3 that she was needed at police headquarters in Banjul, and when she went she was asked questions, and she wrote a statement based on what she explained.

Under cross-examination by defence counsel Gomez, PW4 admitted that she collected loans and gave those monies to the coordinator on a few occasions.

“Why did you hand over to the coordinator?” counsel asked.

“Because I was not the finance officer,” she said.

“Were those payments handed over to the then coordinators when the accountant was not around?”

“No.”

“Is it correct that you handed over to the coordinator because the accountant was not around?”

“Yes.”

“Of the D50,000 you were given; did the accused ask for any part of that amount?”

“No.”

“Were you the only NEDI servant that received loans from NEDI?”

“No.”

Meanwhile, earlier on, defence counsel Gomez continued the cross-examination of PW3, the head of the investigative panel.

“In the course of the investigation were you able to establish when NEDI as an institution was established?” counsel asked.

“Yes, in 2009,” he said.

“Are you sure that NEDI was established in 2009?”

“Yes.”

“With regard to PW2; were you able to establish whether she had a guarantor during her contract with NEDI?”

“Yes.”

“Did you know?”

“There was no guarantor.”

“Was the tailoring business established by a guarantor?”

“Not to my knowledge.”

“After all the investigation, did you make a report and submit it to the Inspector General of Police?”

“Yes.”

“Do you have a copy?”

“It was attached to the case file.”

Counsel then told the court that the report was very vital to their defence, and applied for the DPP to produce the report.

The DPP gave the report to counsel and counsel applied to tender the document in court after the witness had confirmed it.

The document was tendered in court and marked in evidence as a defence exhibit.

“Were you able to establish that since the establishment of NEDI their accounts were not being audited and it was the very first time, just before the matter came to court?”

“No.”

“Are you familiar with the contents of the report?”

“Yes.”

“Are you telling this court that all the contents of this report are true and correct in all aspects?”

“Yes.”

“Exhibits tendered through you as a witness of truth are correct?”

“Yes.”

The case continues on 29 July.

Author: Halimatou Ceesay