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Ex-Foreign Affairs Senior Officials' Trial Continues

Jun 9, 2008, 5:25 AM | Article By: By Modou Sanyang & Bakary Samateh

The trial of Bai Ousman Secka and Muhammed Batata Juwara continued on Thursday before Magistrate Mboto of the Banjul Magistrates' Court.

The two former senior officials at the Department of State for Foreign Affairs are being tried on charges of "conspiracy to commit a felony, making false documents, uttering false document and abuse of office."

Continuing his testimony, PW1, Bai Lamin Bojang, told the court that he last saw Isatou Njie in September 2007 at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He informed the court that he was in possesion of the file concerning Isatou Njie, adding that in September 2007 Isatou Njie applied for annual leave by submitting a written leave letter. Mr Bojang added that upon receiving the letter he sought the opinion of the Permanent Secretary, stating that the letter was filed in Isatou Njie's personal file and that Isatou Njie had applied for the 2007 and 2008 leave.

He said when he saw the letter he raised the issue with the Permanent Secretary, who minuted on the letter that annual leave could only be granted for 2007. Mr. Bojang adduced that after he got the reply from the Permanent Secretary, he conveyed same to the applicant in a letter copied to the Personnel Management Office (PMO).

He further stated that afterwards he submitted the file for delivery through the Private Secretary. He informed the court that Isatou Njie later tendered her resignation letter and the Permanent Secretary asked him to take the necessary action, adding that he expressed his disagreement with that line of action. "I went back to the Permanent Secretary with the file and told him that the letter he had asked me to perform is not in order.

"The Permanent Secretary wrote on the resignation letter and asked me to proceed with the necessary action to convey the resignation letter to the PMO and the Treasury Department, which I did," he concluded.

An element of the case in question is the allegation that the two former senior Foreign Affairs officials had attempted to process visa for Isatou Njie and Ebou Manneh on the impression that they were supposed to attend the UN General Assembly scheduled for September 2007 in New York, knowing that the information was false.

The case was at length adjourned to 24th June.