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Counsel grills Home Finance GM in Graham economic crime trial

Jul 25, 2011, 12:54 PM | Article By: Sainey M.K. Marenah

Defence Counsel, Lamin Camara representing Edward Graham, former managing director of Social Security and Hosing Finance Cooperation recently grilled Omar Sarr, the general manager of the Home Finance Company under cross-examination at the High Court in Banjul.

Graham is alleged to have caused the loss of D73,000 to Home Finance Company Gambia Limited, between January and December 2010, in Banjul, while being employed in the public service as managing director of Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation.

Sarr admitted under cross-examination that he was the GM of Home Finance Company Gambia Limited which is a subsidiary of the Social Security and Hosing Finance Corporation.

Asked about his qualification, Sarr said he got B.Sc in business management and that he graduated in 2000.

He also admitted not having any qualification in finance, adding that Home Finance is a private limited company and that he is responsible for the day-to-day running of the said company.

“How many members are in your board?” Counsel Camara asked. “Three board members,” Sarr replied.

He said the accused person and him are in equal footing at their respective company’s while denying being answerable to the accused saying: “I am answerable to the board of directors.”

“Was Ancha Jammeh interviewed,” asked the counsel? “Not all of them,” replied the witness.

Further asked how many board members interviewed the said Ancha Jammeh, Sarr told the court that three of the board members interviewed Ancha.

He also admitted bring to limelight of the board when Ancha was to be interviewed, adding that the chairman of the board authorised him to convene a meeting to interview Ancha Jammeh.

Sarr, who also admitted interviewing the lady, says that she never found Ancha wanting in her job.

He said Ancha was appoined at the behest of the board of directors.

“B.sc in Economics and Banking with distinction,” Counsel quizzed? “Yes” the witness replied.

He also admitted that if one is doing B.sc in economics and banking, he or she must do finance, disclosing before the court that he approved the invoice of payment made to COMtech when defence counsel showed him exhibit C1.

He said two people were trained according to Exhibit C1, adding that he was not in a position to answer whether COMtech has installed latest software in Ancha’s Department.

“Mr. Sarr, you mean you did not check if you were getting value for money?” Counsel posed another question and the witness answered: “All I am interested is to have our faulty software changed.”

He also said Ancha was appointed, adding that she was confirmed by the board of directors; that is why she is still there this was in answer to another question asked by the Graham attorney.

Counsel applied to tender Ancha’s appointment letter which was admitted and marked as defence exhibit (D1), adding that exhibit 1 was not copied to any board member because it was an oversight.

He denied indicating in defence exhibit one and other prosecution exhibits that he was acting under the instruction of the accused person while further admitted that his company had service rules.

Sarr said he is familiar with the terms of reference and service rules, adding that it was not stated in the terms of reference and service rules that he was answerable to Graham.

“Do you have document to show that you took instructions from the accused?” counsel inquired from the witness and he said: “It was through the telephone.”

He said the Chairman of the Board was aware of Ancha’s confirmation and the payment for the software and consultancy.

Hearing resumes on 13th October.

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