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Former project clerk testifies in trial of ex-Agric officials

Nov 27, 2015, 9:52 AM | Article By: Halimatou Ceesay

Maimuna Sey, secretary to the Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, and also the Data Entry Clerk at the Rural Finance Project under the Ministry of Agriculture, yesterday testified in the criminal trial involving former Agriculture permanent secretary Ada Gaye and others, before Justice Abi of the Banjul High Court.

The others are Lamin Fatajo, former project coordinator of Rural Finance Project, and Lamin Mass, former acting finance administrative manager of the project.

When the case was called, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) appeared for the state, senior counsel B.S. Touray and Edward Singhateh represented Fatajo and Mass, whilst counsel Sheriff M. Tambedou announced his representation for Ada Gaye.

Maimuna Sey told the court she lives in Bakau and was the secretary to the Monitoring and Evaluation officer and also the Data Entry Clerk at the Rural Finance Project.

She recognised Mr Fatajo, who was the former project coordinator of the said project, and Lamin Mass, former acting finance and administrative manager.

The witness told the court that sometime on 13 February 2013, she applied for a 3-month advance salary in the sum of thirteen thousand, one hundred dalasis and seventy-five bututs from the management; that is the project coordinator and the acting finance and administrative manager.

“Approval was granted, and I was given the loan, which was to be paid within 6 months and which I paid by installment in September 2014,” she told the court.

“I also travelled to Togo for 19 days to attend a gender and regional forum for the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) funded projects,” she said.

Under cross-examination by lawyer Touray, the witness was asked how many times she received a salary advance, and she said three times.

“Can you remember who the project coordinator was, the first time you applied for a salary advance?” counsel Touray asked.

“It was Dr Alassan Bah, and he was the coordinator when I applied for it the second time too.”

“All the three salary advances given to you, is it correct that you paid all?” counsel Touray asked. The witness responded in the positive.

“Are you still working with the project?” “No,” answered the witness.

“Are you aware whether IFAD has complained about this salary advances either to you or any staff?”

“No.”

“This salary advance paid to you - was it ever queried by auditors?”

“No.”

“Who did you write to in relation to the salary advances?”

“I wrote to the coordinator of the project and I copied it to the finance and administrative manager.”

“Do you know that the coordinator has powers to approve salary advances?”“Yes.”

“It is correct that this salary advances were not a subject of query by the project management team?”

“No.”

“Was it queried by the implementation support mission?”“No.”

“Was it also queried by the direct supervision mission?” “No.”

“The money that is funding the project: which institution owns it?” “IFAD.”

“This salary advances - has it caused a loss to the economy of The Gambia?”

“No.”

“The per diem paid to you was it in excess to the money that you were entitled to?”

“No.”

At this juncture, the trial judge enquired from lawyer Tambedou, defence counsel for Ada Gaye, whether he had questions for the witness and he responded in the negative.

The case was subsequently adjourned until 15 December 2015.

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