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Court rejects defence application in Njogu Bah’s trial

May 2, 2014, 9:20 AM | Article By: Bakary Samateh

Principal magistrate Hilary Abeke of the Banjul magistrates’ court Wednesday rejected the defence counsel’s application for the state to produce the statement of Mariama Njie, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in the trial involving the former head of the civil service, Dr Njogu Bah.

Delivering the ruling, the trial magistrate told the court that defence lawyer LK Mboge had asked the court for the state to produce the statement for the purpose of cross-examination.

He said in response, the Director of Public Prosecutions, S.H. Barkun, argued that the defence counsel must make a link between the witness and the statement of Mariama Njie.

He said the DPP further argued that even though the statement was in the possession of the witness, there was no linkage to the case.

The magistrate cited the Evidence Act, which he said provided that no one shall be compelled to produce documents in his possession, which another person would be entitled to refuse to produce.

He cited the Nigerian law report and said once the relevant facts had not been pleaded to, a party shall not be allowed cross-examination on the unpleaded facts.

“To allow such situation would constitute element of surprise, which is contrary to the concept of fair hearing.

“In light of the above authorities, the application for the production of Mariama Njie’s statement is outside the court,” the magistrate said.

“I therefore overrule the defence counsel’s application for the production of the statement,” he stated.

The case was then adjourned to 5 May 2014, for continuation of the hearing.

It would be recalled that the state prosecutors accused Dr Njogu Bah, that sometime in June 2013 at the State House in Banjul, he abused the authority of his office as Secretary General and Head of Civil Service by interfering with the recommendation and posting of Ms Jainaba Jobarteh to the Gambia’s permanent mission at the United Nations in New York, without following the proper procedure of nomination, and thereby committed an offence.