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Former PS Mambanyick Njie’s trial proceeds

Aug 20, 2013, 10:00 AM | Article By: Bakary Samateh

The trial proceeded yesterday of the former permanent secretary at the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Mambanyick Njie, at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court before Magistrate Foster.

Mambanyick Njie was being tried for allegedly giving false information to a public officer.

The case proceeded with the cross-examination of the second prosecution witness (PW2), Kemo Ceesay, former finance administrator at the then Gambia Football Association (GFA).

Kemo Ceesay, under cross-examination, told the court that, in 2010, the sum of 250,000 dollars was given to the GFA by FIFA.

He also said he was aware that the GFA had a constitution, in response to the defence counsel, who asked whether Ceesay ever read the constitution.

The witness was also told that he was interviewed by one Alieu Ceesay of the Daily Observer newspaper, in a story headlined: ‘Banned former GFA officials react’, to which he responded in the positive.

However, Ceesay added that he could not remember uttering this statement in the Observer: “First of all, I was somehow very sad when I heard the news that the former executive members plus senior management staff were banned for five years.”

“I did not feel it too much, because I knew it iwas not a serious thing. There is a constitution that guides Gambian football; so whatever is outside that constitution, I did not take it seriously,” Ceesay said.

“Are you denying that you made these statements?” asked counsel.

“I deny it, because I cannot remember making those statements,” testified the witness.

The defence counsel then applied to tender a copy of the Daily Observer dated Wednesday 17 July, 2013 in evidence, and it was admitted as an exhibit.

Ceesay then continued, and further told the court that he was not aware of being banned for 5 years.

Asked by counsel whether he was going to challenge the rumour that he was banned for 5 years, Ceesay said he was waiting for his letter before reacting.

“What if the letter doesn’t come?” counsel asked.

“Under the constitution of the GFA, there was something known as General Assembly of Delegates”, counsel went on.

“I did not have a full idea about the constitution. I do not want to say anything that I was not sure of, and so I will say I did not know,” Ceesay told the court.

Counsel then continued, and asked whether he prepared an annual budget before or after 2009. The witness said: “Yes, in 2008.”

When asked why the GFA failed to prepare budgets in 2009, 2010 and 2011 respectively, Ceesay responded that he was not an executive member, but a staff of the GFA.

The second prosecution witness further testified that the Secretary General of the GFA, Jammeh E.K Bojang, authorised the expenditures made in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

“Did he authorise you in writing or orally?” asked counsel. “In writing,” said Ceesay.

Counsel then put it to him that in 2010, there was no budget and expenditures were made, and asked who gave them the authority to do the expenditure.

In response, the witness said the authority was given by the same person, Mr. Bojang.

“Are you telling the court that in the absence of meetings of the General Assembly, the Secretary General have powers to authorise the expenditures?” Ceesay responded in the positive.

Ceesay also disclosed to the court that he was one of the GFA officials that had personal loans, adding that his loan was D150, 000 for a period of five years.

“Did you apply for that loan?” “Yes”, he applied.

“To whom did you make the application?”

“To the Secretary General,” Ceesay replied.

“Have you repaid the loan?” “Yes,” replied the witness.

“How much have you repaid, and how much is the balance?”

“I had been paying until the time I ceased to receive my salary in May, 2013,” Ceesay replied.

“What was your reason for the loan?”

“I cannot remember what was in the form,” said Ceesay.

“The use of funds from FIFA was for the development of football. Are you aware of that?” “Yes,” he answered.

He added that in 2010, The Gambia had $250,000 from FIFA for the GFA.

Counsel then put it to the witness that ‘Red Scorpions’ won something and were not paid, and they wrote to the GFA, asking for their money (D70,000), because they were the 2010/2011 champions.

“I did not know whether they were the champions,” said the witness.

Ceesay after looking at the said letter, said he was not aware of the letter because it did not find him in the office, adding that he could not remember paying D70,000 to anyone.

The letter said to be emanating from the Red Scorpions was admitted and marked as an exhibit.

The witness finally testified that he could remember the gift of the President to the Under-17 national football team and GFA officials in 2009, after winning a trophy in Algeria.

The case was adjourned to 22 August 2013.