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Court rejects admissibility of receipts in Waa Juwara and Co trial

Mar 3, 2015, 10:21 AM | Article By: Bakary Samateh

Principal Magistrate Dawda Jallow of the Banjul Magistrates’ Court yesterday rejected the admissibility of a bundle of receipts bearing the name of Tamsir Camara and not Tamsir Onasis Konteh.

This rejection was contained in a ruling delivered by the court in the trial of Lamin Waa Juwara, former Minister of Regional Administrations, Lands and Traditional Rulers, and two others - Hamidou Jallow, principal lands and valuation officer at the said Ministry and Tamsir Onasis Konteh, a businessman.

The ruling followed the objection made by the state counsel, Abdouraham Bah, on the admissibility of receipts bearing the name of Tamsir Camara, and not Tamsir Onasis Konteh, as the one standing trial before the court.

The trial magistrate ruled that during the proceedings of 14 January 2014, counsel for the accused sought to tender a bundle of four rates receipts to which the state counsel objected, hence the subject of the ruling.

According to the magistrate, state counsel A. Bah argued that proper foundation was not laid and, by the nature of the document, it had nothing to do with the witness since the name on the document read Tamsir Camara.

He said counsel Bah further submitted that no foundation was laid to show how the accused got the documents, apparently belonging to someone else.

In response, defence counsel Tambedou urged the court to dismiss the objection for “lacking merit”, noting that the witness had laid proper foundation when he stated in his evidence that he found documents relating to the payment of the rates in respect of his property in Tanji.

He said the defence counsel argued that the documents, issued in the name of Tamsir Onasis Camara, did not affect their admissibility.

On relevance, counsel Tambedou submitted that the accused stood charged with the offence of uttering false documents and for him to debunk that he was tendering or leading evidence of ownership of the land in Tanji, he said.

He said that in the instant case, the witness, though was not the maker of the document, had identified the documents as ones given to him by the area council, that laid the foundation showing how he came to be in possession of the documents.

However, he added, the name of the witness before the court was Tamsir Onasis Konteh whereas the name on the receipts he was seeking to tender was Tamsir Onasis Camara.

Clearly, despite the similarities in the first and middle names, the differences in the surnames are too apparent to ignore, he said.

The magistrate added since the foundation laid by the witness did not reconcile this material difference, the court was left in serious doubt as to whether or not the documents were issued to the witness.

He said the court could not on its own presume that “Konteh and Camara are one of the same. It, therefore, follows that the issue of nexus between the witness and the documents sought to be tendered through him has not been established.”

The case was adjourned to 16 March 2015.