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Accused testifies in alleged theft trial

Apr 18, 2011, 1:57 PM | Article By: Yusuf Ceesay

The criminal trial of theft involving Muhammed Sam recently proceeded before the Kanifing Magistrates' Court presided over by Magistrate Tabally.

The accused, Muhammed Sam, denied charges of stealing monies meant for clearing three vehicles from the Gambia Ports Authority.

Testifying under cross-examination, the accused, Muhammed Sam, told the court that he received D57,000 to clear vehicles from the port.

He revealed that his duty as a clearing agent was to pay for the clearance and take the vehicle.

When questioned by the prosecuting officer, Inspector Mballow, as to whether he could remember the date he made payment for the clearance, the accused said he made payment to  customs in September 2009 and the reason for the payment was indicated on the receipt.

"I paid for clearance in the name of Momodou Njie (complainant)," defence witness one said.

He gave money to a cashier to pay on his behalf, he said, adding that he also made payment to one Mr Sey.

When quizzed further as to whether he was a corridor clearing agent, he replied in the negative, saying: "I am working with a registered agency by the name Terrubi Clearing Agency."

He noted that he could remember giving statement at the serious crime unit. "I did not write the statement but I was asked to sign it," he added.

At that juncture, the prosecutor applied to tender both the voluntary and cautionary statements in evidence, which was admitted and tendered before the court.

Still on his evidence under cross-examination, the accused indicated that he paid D43,332 for clearing a vehicle, and he also paid D10,000 to the Gambia Revenue Authority.

When the prosecuting officer enquired about the balance of the D57,000, the accused told the court: "I wrote a letter to the customs in order to make direct delivery of a vehicle for me but I was told, until I paid for two vehicles they would not deliver one for him."

He also told the court that all the arrangement he made was in the presence of the complainant.

The prosecuting officer made an application for the said Mr Sey of the GRA to come to court to produce payment done by the accused in September 2009 in the name of Momodou Njie.

The trial magistrate subsequently granted the application and hearing was adjourned till 25 April 2011.