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Businesswoman testifies in former NAM and Co trial

Jul 7, 2015, 9:41 AM | Article By: Fatou Jallow

A businesswoman, Suwadou Jallow, yesterday testified as the second prosecution witness (PW2) in the trial of Pa Malick Ceesay, a former National Assembly Member, and one Ismaila Njie, former NEDI accountant, before Justice Abi of the Banjul High Court.

The witness said she is a businesswoman, who trades in shoes and clothing, lives in Bundung, and could recall what happened in the year 2009.

She said she was introduced to Pa Malick Ceesay by her sister, one Adam Sarr and, after their introduction to each other, they discussed a joint business on tailoring.

She told the court that after the discussion, she made a trip to Dakar and, upon her return, the 1st accused had already rented a place for the business and put four machines in it.

She was later given a cheque for D50,000 by the accused to cash, which she did and brought the money back to him.

She added that the 1st accused then gave her D30,000 for her to buy materials from Dakar and the remaining D20,000 he was to pay for the rent of the shop.

She said the shop was owned by one Pa Alhagie, and she was not in town when the payment was made.

Upon her return, she was informed that the rent for the shop was D21,000 and she pulled her own D1,000 to top up the amount.

She said after sometime, the business was not working because there were lots of expenses, so she called the 1st accused to inform him that the business was not going as expected, but the accused told her business was like that.

The 1st accused used to ask for the monies and she would sometimes give him D3,000 to D4,000, she told the court.

One day, a boy came to her but she did not know him with a form and asked her to fill it, but she did not.

On the following day, a man named Sowe called and said he was calling from the Fraud office at police headquarters, and that she was needed at their office.

At the Fraud office, she was asked if she knew the accused person and if she took any loan from him, and she replied in the negative.

She told the court that the business was between them, and anything concerning the business she would call and inform Ceesay.

She added that they spent six months in that shop, and that she was once told by the accused that they wanted to do the business in the form of a loan.

The police investigated the issue, and she was asked to pay D161,000, she told the court.

She also told the court she did not know the value of the sewing machine, and could not estimate how much it was because it was not recorded.

Under cross-examination, she told the court that she stopped school at Grade 9; she could speak English and read, but writing was her problem.

She said on her introduction to Pa Malick, her sister told her Pa Malick was like a brother and a friend, and she too did and still regarded him as a brother.

Asked if he read the cheque given to her by the accused upon cashing the cheque, she said “No”.

She added that although she was familiar with cheques, it was her first to cash it.

She said she was asked to provide her ID card as she would always go with it anywhere.

She added that she also registered the business.

The D30,000 given to her was to buy sewing materials and accessories and Pa Malick said the remaining D20,000 he would use it for the rent.

She never knew if those monies demanded by Pa Malick were used for the payment of the loan, as she was never aware of any loan.

Counsel Gomez put it to her that from the starting, the accused told her that he was working with a government institution on alleviation of poverty, to which she answered in the negative.

It was further put it to her that the cheque was also paid in her name.

She told the court she was giving the accused monies because they were in a business together, but she never recorded the amounts she was giving to him.

The receipts of the payment for the shop were tendered as exhibits.

The case was adjourned to 7 July 2015.