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Ex-Chief Justice Wowo asked for an offer not bribe, Witness tells court

Sep 4, 2013, 11:06 AM | Article By: Malamin L.M. Conteh

Former Chief Justice Joseph Wowo requested for an offer from a Dutch businessman, but did not solicited any bribe, the state witness in the ongoing trial against Wowo and former Justice Minister Lamin Jobarteh yesterday told the Special Criminal Court.

‘‘Wowo was requesting for an offer so that they could negotiate, and did not solicit any bribe from anybody in that meeting,’’ the witness told the court.

Alieu Barry, who is the second state witness, made the revelation while continuing his testimony in the trial involving Wowo and Lamin AMS Jobarteh before Justice Emmanuel Nkea.

Joseph Wowo and Lamin AMS Jobarteh are being tried on a thirteen-count indictment which include abuse of office, conspiracy to defeat Justice  and interference with witnesses, offences relating to Judicial proceeding, to giving false information, which they had denied.

Yesterday’s proceedings saw the tendering of the CD, following a ruling delivered by the court, after an earlier objection by the defence to the tendering of the CD.

Justice Nkea, in his ruling, stated among other things that sufficient foundation had been laid and the objection lacked merit, and admitted the CD as an exhibit.

Continuing his testimony, Barry added that in addition to what he had said, there was an affidavit which was published in Today newspaper by his lawyer, Christopher Mene.

“This was drafted by Mene and he asked me to sign it regarding Mr Wowo’s unethical professional standard,” he said, adding that according to Mr Mene, he was going to use it in Nigeria and not in The Gambia.

He stated that in connection to the information found on YouTube, it was wrongly interpreted.

“I went to the YouTube myself where I found a comment on it that a Nigerian judge was requesting a bribe from a Dutchman,” he testified.

Barry said that Justice Wowo was asking the Dutchman to offer something, which was wrongly interpreted.

The witness also told the court that the affidavit that was published in Today newspaper was not done with his consent.

“I did not ask Mr Mene to prepare any affidavit for me. I only signed the said affidavit because what Mene told me was what I found on the internet, that is, ‘Mr Wowo’s unethical professional standard’ which was in question,” Barry further told the court.

At this juncture, he appealed to the court for the CD to be played in court so that he could listen to it to confirm its content.

The CD was then played in an open court, and after listening to the contents of the CD, he confirmed it.

He continued to state that when the affidavit was published in The Gambia, he did not do anything, as he did not have the capability to do anything.

Justice Wowo said he was at the meeting to chair the meeting, and to mediate, Barry said.

Under cross-examination by defence counsel Uzuma, the witness stated that Justice Wowo said that he would not preside over the case, when the matter came to court.

He maintained that the 1st accused, Joseph Wowo, did not solicit any bribe at that meeting held at the residence of the ex-Justice Minister Jobarteh.

He did not make any complaint against the 1st accused, Wowo, anywhere, Barry added.

The case continues today.