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Dr Sidibeh testifies in Gumbo Touray’s case

Aug 24, 2012, 11:28 AM | Article By: Bakary Samateh

Dr. Lamin Sidibe yesterday testified as the second defence witness (DW2) in the trial involving Gumbo Touray, former Director of International Affairs at the University of the Gambia, before the Banjul Magistrates’ Court.

Touray is being tried after being charged with the offence of giving false information to a public officer.

Dr Sidibeh, who began his testimony by giving the court his resume, said he resides at Bakau South Atlantic Road in the Kanifing Municipality.

He added that after completing his formal education, he attended Yundum College, where he obtained a teachers certificate in 1967 and later proceeded to the University of Aarhus in Denmark and obtained a BSc in psychology in 1974, and in the same university his MSc in psychology in 1975.

In 1977 in the same university, he also got a PhD in psychology and in 1988 at the Alliance Francaise de Dire Daoua, in Ethiopia, a diploma in French.

He added that in 1999, he obtained a postgraduate diploma in Management in New Hamphire College NH, USA.

Between 1973 and 1978, he was a lecturer in Psychology, at Jydsk Teacher’s College Aarhus, Denmark, and in 1977 a research fellow, at the Scandinavian institute of African Studies at Uppsala University in Sweden.

From 1978 to 1980, he was associate programme officer for UNICEF in Nairobi, Kenya, and from 1980 to 1983, programme manager for UNHCR in Mogadishu, Somalia.

Dr. Sidibeh further told the court that he was a programme/desk officer for UNHCR in Khartoum, Sudan, and head of the mission of UNHCR in Dire Daoua, Ethiopia, from 1985 to 1989.

Between 1989 and 1991, he was chief mission representative for UNHCR in Lagos, Nigeria, and from 1991 to 1993 a special representative, in the Garissa/Dadaab Region of Kenya.

He said in 1993 and 1998 he was a consultant / advisor for the Gambia Red Cross Society, and in 2000 and 2001, a visiting lecturer in psychology at the University of The Gambia, UTG.

From 2000 to 2003, Sidibeh worked as a psychotherapist, at the Arbour Counseling Services HRI Clinic, in Lowell MA, USA, and from 2003 to 2005 served as a senior lecturer in psychology at the UTG.

The case continues today.

Meanwhile, Gumbo Touray yesterday ended his testimony under cross-examination by telling the court that his contract was terminated by Professor Kah and that he did not apply for any renewal because his contract did not expire at the time of his termination by the UTG vice chancellor.

When shown another document by the prosecuting officer, and asked whether the document was not an application for the renewal of his contract, Touray told the court that it was a response to an advertisement for all the UTG staff for the second phase of their contract.

“My contract was proactive and my letter of appointment which is already in as a defence exhibit was dated in 2007, thus my 3-year contract had not elapsed,” Gumbo said.

Touray also told the court that the university council were the one responsible for approving the appointment of any UTG staff, and that he knew some of the members.

Asked by the prosecuting officer whether it was correct that the university council is there to guide conditions of service at the UTG, Touray told the court that it was correct that the university council should work according to the conditions of service of the university.

He added that Professor Kah recommended Kojo to the university council to appoint him as Director of Finance at the UTG, and he is a non-Gambian.

Touray further revealed that he personally collected Mr. Kojo from the airport in his capacity as the then Director of International Affairs to the AU Villas, but he did not participate in his appointment.

He further disclosed that UTG 7 was the vehicle allocated for Kojo as director of Finance at the UTG.

Further asked about the conditions of travel at the UTG, and whether he had access to per diem, Touray told the court that it depended on the nature of the travel, and that in a special circumstances, which he could remember, when he was travelling together with a colleague to Oslo, Professor Kah deliberately denied them  per diem for no reason.

He further told the court that the letter of invitation clearly stated that they only provided accommodation and no food or travel allowances.

He added that his suspension came in the wake of the visit of the National Assembly select committee on education to the UTG, and that he wrote to them expressing his honest opinion on what was going on at the UTG.

He said a few days later he was suspended by Professor Kah, without consulting any university governing council member.

When it was put to him that he could not challenge professor Kah because of his unfinished PhD program, Touray told the court that in academia excellence is not based on having a PhD; and, moreover, he had authored a book, whereas Professor Kah did not author any book.