May 10, 2016, 12:48 PM
Dr Njogu L. Bah, Lamin AMSJobarteh, former Minister of Justice, and Pa Harry Jammeh, former Solicitor General are being tried under a three-count charge, which included conspiracy to carry out a lawful purpose by an unlawful means, giving false information to a public officer, and abuse of office; charges they denied.
Opening his defence in a packed courtroom, Dr Njogu Bah told the court that he had never conspired with anybody and have never given false information to Mr John Belford, the Judicial Secretary.
He told the court that the letter dated 17 January 2013 was issued by him.
He added that exhibit C was the cautionary letter on the issue of the former Justice Wowo, for his termination.
“I did not conspire with anybody. I have not given any false information to anybody, and I have never given false information to John Belford. I and my co-accused had not discussed anything with John Belford,” the former SG said.
“I have never abused my office as alleged in count 3,” he said, outlining some of the oaths he had taken, and that these oaths are still binding on him even though he was not working.
He added that he was bound by the oath of secrecy, and that was why he could not say some things in court.
He was asked by his counsel to look at exhibit G, which was the letter from the office of the current SG.
After looking at the letter, Njogu Bah stated that this letter did not say much, “ because if you are looking for a record in a file using this reference number, you may not find it there’.
He said he was referring to the reference number of exhibit G, and when he said it does not say much, it meant it was not conclusive.
“We are using here two different files. There is a file number for exhibit E and there is a file number for exhibit G.”
He added that executive directives are given in different ways, and he wanted to refer the court to exhibit A, B and C, stating that there was a meeting at State House after that exhibit G came.
“I joined the civil service eight years ago, and I started from the bottom and I climbed to the climax, to the position of SG. I was also appointed as minister in various ministries, and during this time I tried to serve my country, and when my President appointed me, I served to the best of my ability,” he told the court.
“I think the record will speak for itself. I have functions and these functions are not limited to what I have said,” he went on, adding that he worked under directives.
“I have been a loyal servant to my boss and to my country, and I will continue to be loyal to the vision he has. If I had done anything, I would have done it under instructions,” Dr Njogu Bah further stated.
The case continues on 31 October 2013, for cross-examination.
Lamin AMS Jobarteh, Pa Harry Jammeh, and Dr Njogu L. Bah, were accused on count one that, between January and February 2013, in the Banjul City Council, within the jurisdiction of the court, conspired among themselves to remove Justice Wowo, a sitting Judge of the Court of Appeal of The Gambia by an lawful means, to wit, orchestrating his arrest, detention and mock trial, and thereby committed an offence.
On Count two, Lamin AMS Jobarteh, Pa Harry Jammeh, and Dr Njogu L. Bah, were alleged that in January 2013, in the Banjul City Council, within the jurisdiction of the court, with intent to cause the termination of the service of Justice Wowo, fed John Belford( in his capacity as the Judicial Secretary of The Gambia) and the members of the Judicial Service Commission of The Gambia with information to the effect that his Excellency, the President of The Gambia had directed the termination of the appointment of Justice Wowo, knowing the information to be false and thereby committed an offence.
Lamin AMS Jobarteh, Pa Harry Jammeh, and Dr Njogu L. Bah, were further alleged on count three that, between January and February 2013, in the Banjul City Council, within the jurisdiction of the court, whilst in their offices as the Attorney General and Minister of Justice of The Gambia, and Solicitor General of The Gambia, and Secretary General and Head of Civil Service of The Gambia, respectively, abused the authority of their respective offices, by arbitrarily causing the arrest detention, and termination of the appointment of Justice Wowo, and thereby committed an offence.