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Ex-PS testifies in former Agriculture officials case

May 31, 2012, 1:16 PM | Article By: Malamin Conteh

Alfu Marong, former permanent secretary at the ministry of Agriculture in Banjul, yesterday continued giving his evidence at the Brikama High Court in the case involving former senior officials at the ministry, who were charged with five counts of economic crime, three counts of uttering false documents and two counts of negligence of official duties.

The accused persons are Alhagie Bakary Trawally, former permanent secretary, Dr Amadou Sowe, former permanent secretary, Seedy Jarju, former permanent secretary, Kekoi Kuyateh former deputy permanent secretary, all at the ministry of Agriculture, Dr Mustapha Ceesay, former deputy director-general NARI, Momodou  Mbye Jabang, former program coordinator, Modou Lamin Ceesay a businessman, Awa Sey Ceesay, a former supplies officer at the ministry of agriculture, and one Yusupha Jawara.

Marong told the court that in compliance with the instruction given to him by the authorities, as the permanent secretary, he was responsible for providing the state with the information regarding this matter.

He added that in doing so, he came across a letter in a file dated 14 June 2010, at the ministry of Agriculture, which he said was authored by Mustapha Ceesay.

He identified the said letter and the state counsel at that juncture applied to tender the said letter as an exhibit.

Defence counsel L.S Camara opposed the tendering of the letter on the grounds that the witness was not the author of the said letter, and did not prepare the document to qualify him to tender it.

Counsel added that the fact that the witness saw the letter in the file at the ministry did not qualify him to tender the letter, stating that there was no nexus between the witness and the document.

He then urged the court to overrule the application.

Ida Drammeh, another defence counsel, also objected. She said that the letter did not emanate from proper custody, and the person who sought to tender it was not the author of the letter.

She added that admitting this document would be prejudicial to the defence, citing the constitution and the Evidence Act to support her objection.

In response, the state counsel, Simon Abi, submitted that looking at the document to be tendered, it bears the official stamp in the name of PS Alfu Marong at the ministry of Agriculture, and there was also a name on the stamp in the name of Ada Gaye, and bears the date.

Abi said the absence of the seal does not render the document invalid, adding that there was nothing to show that the certifying officer could not tender a document.

He argued that the document had emanated from a proper custody, and there was a clear nexus between the witness and the document to be tendered.

He further stated that the objection was misconceived by the defence, and urged the court to admit the document.

The case continues today. 

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