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Businessman denies drug dealing

Feb 5, 2010, 7:44 PM | Article By: Bakary Samateh

Saliba Samateh, a businessman recently testified before Magistrate Emmanuel Nkea of Banjul Magistrates' Court in the ongoing trial of Pa Habibu Mbye, a former Crime Management Coordinator of the Gambia Police Force, Idrish Massded and Charles Boniface Okeke, both Nigerians.

The trio are standing trial on charges of conspiracy and giving false information to public officers.

Testifying under cross-examination, Mr. Samateh told the court that he is a businessman mainly dealing in gold, diamonds and general merchandise.

According to him, sometime in 2009, the accused persons met him for a business discussion and, while the discussion was on, he was recorded by the accused persons who later reported that he was engaged in selling cocaine at his Brusubi residence in the name of the President.

When asked by defense counsel Pap Cheyasin Secka whether he knew one Omar Ndow, and whether he had at any time received 10,000 Euros from him, he replied in the affirmative and admitted receiving the said amount from Mr. Ndow in exchange for gold worth of 1.5kg.

However, Mr. Samateh denied the defense counsel’s assertion that the Inspector-General of Police, Ensa Badjie, had called one Muhammad Ceesay in Freetown, while at Kotu Police Station, and that they spoke at length over the phone, despite admitting knowing three people in Freetown bearing the name of Muhammad Ceesay.

He maintained that he did not precisely know the person IGP Badjie was speaking to over the phone.

He further denied the defence counsel’s assertion that he wanted to pay one Moroccan national, because the police were involved in the matter.

He said when the officers raided his house in Brusubi no drugs were found, but only the gold and diamond stones. The case was adjourned to February 11th 2010.