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Gambian Ambassador continues testimony in Willy Joof’s trial

Mar 31, 2011, 12:46 PM | Article By: Bakary Samateh

Moses Benjamin Jallow, Gambia’s ambassador to France, Tuesday continued his testimony in the criminal trial of Willy John Joof, former Gambian ambassador to France, before acting-Principal Magistrate Tawia Alagba of the Banjul Magistrates’ Court.

Willy Joof is being tried on charges of official corruption, obtaining goods by false pretences, stealing, conspiracy to commit felony, goods used, and four counts of abuse of office.

Continuing his testimony, Moses Jallow told the court that exhibit E14 is the letter written by the accused person for him (the witness) to transfer 15,000 Euro from Gerard Nuss’s account to the accused person’s personal account, and that the money was subsequently transferred to the account.

He added that the transfer had reflected in the account of Mr. Nuss.

Asked by the Director of Public Prosecutions who was responsible for appointments and terminations, the witness told the court that the President of the Republic of The Gambia recommends for the appointment through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Jallow said that there is no payment attached to the appointment of an ambassador.

He added that the process of opening a mission bank account for Permanent Delegates to UNESCO in France should be the three signatures of the Chancellor, Financial Attaché and the Ambassador under the direct supervision of the Directorate of the Treasury in Banjul.

He added that this account was, however, bearing only the name of the accused person, as the then ambassador to France.

The third prosecution witness said that, while the accused person was in Banjul, the Director of the bank in France wrote to the Gambian Embassy in France indicating that the bank account for the permanent delegates has recorded four withdrawals.

The first withdrawal was on 24 August 2004 of 5,000 Euros, second withdrawal was on 30th August 2004 of 4,800 Euros and a third withdrawal was on 7 April 2005 of 5,000 Euros.

“In April 2004, cash of 500 Euro was withdrawn by the accused person, and on 11 April 2005, the accused made another withdrawal of 5,000 Euro,” he told the court.

The witness told the court that he was third in command in 2004 as the Permanent Delegate to UNESCO in France, and that he was informed by the accused in one of their senior staff meetings.

“The accused informed me that he had appointed two French nationals to work with the Permanent Delegates to UNESCO in France,” the Gambian diplomat told the court.

He added that, one day, he was driving around when he saw a Gambian flag on a building with the signboard at the gate of the said compound bearing Permanent Delegate to UNESCO in France.

“I later knew the owner of the said premises as Michel Cocass,” adding that he was never aware of such appointment from Banjul through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

He added that the accused person did not inform him, when he terminated the services of the two French nationals, but did inform him when he appointed them.

The case was adjourned till 30 April 2011.