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Defence continues in Gamcotrap officials trial

Oct 14, 2011, 2:21 PM | Article By: Bakary Samateh

Dr. Isatou Touray, Executive Director of Gamcotrap, yesterday continued her defence testimony in the criminal case involving her and Amie Bojang-Sissoho, program co-ordinator of the same organisation, at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court before Principal Magistrate Tabally.

It was alleged that the two prominent women’s rights activists, in 2009 in Banjul and diverse places in the Gambia, jointly stole 30,000 Euros being money provided by the YALOCAMBA SOLIDARIDAD of Spain to GAMCOTRAP.

Continuing her testimony, Dr. Touray told the court that the prosecution called several women circumcisers including Aminata Daba, Tombong Jatta, Jabou Baldeh and Kaddy Drammeh after they admitted that physical cash of D5,000 as compensation was given to them for dropping their knives.

She added that the money was meant for the circumcisers in exchange for the dropping of their knives, and to protect the girl child from Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

Dr Touray said the grant was meant to support the women circumcisers after they agreed to drop their knives, noting that Gamcotrap also knew that the women circumcisers are very poor and uneducated.

“We feel that they needed either cash or in kind in the work they are doing as compensation,” she stated, adding that Gamcotrap decided to give them some cash in exchange for dropping their knives commonly called in Mandinka “Mutabulu Doko”.

 She said apart from giving them the said money, there was no condition attached, after assessing their condition as poor and powerless women.

Dr Touray added that, based on their appeals, they decided to introduce the strategy that would uphold the dignity of women circumcisers, to give them the livelihood of their choice.

She added that exhibit A was a correspondence from Omar Dibba to Yollocumba, but it was never copied to her, neither to the second accused person who is her assistant.

She said, as the executive director, she has never advised Omar Dibba to hold discussions with Yollocamba regarding a micro finance scheme.

She said the second accused person is the programme coordinator, as well as her assistant, adding that the second accused person’s role was to implement the projects of Gamcotrap, on a daily basis.

She denied that she and the second accused person stole any money from Yolocambai based in Spain, adding that they have never made any false accounts in relation to the said project.

The case continues on 3 November 2011.