Oct 26, 2009, 3:25 PM
Alhaji Momodou Sanyang, Director General of the Gambia Radio and Television Services, GRTS, yesterday testified in the trial of Dodou Sanneh, former reporter at GRTS.
Dodou Sanneh is being tried for allegedly giving false information to a public officer.
Testifying as the third prosecution witness, before Magistrate Manyima Bojang of the Banjul Magistrates’ Court, DG Sanyang told the court that he is a civil servant attached to the Gambia Radio and Television Services as Director General.
He added that he recognised the accused as a member of staff of the Gambia Radio and Television Services (GRTS), whose services were terminated.
“I knew Kebba Dibba, is also staff of GRTS, as Director of Programs, and the accused person was working under him as a reporter at the time,” he said.
“The accused person’s services were terminated twice,” Sanyang told the court.
“The first was when one Senegalese’s commander came to The Gambia and paid a courtesy call on the President at State House, and he was cautioned to produce the report, and the highlights of the whole program,” Sanyang added.
“I personally called the accused person, and asked him to produce the courtesy call report, which was very important, but the accused person later switch off his phone, until the third day when he came to work. I asked him how could he disappear for two days,” he further testified.
“The accused person replied that it was just a courtesy call, and was not much more important than what he was doing. This caused his first termination, but the management later decided to reinstate him,” he continued.
The GRTS DG added that during the 2006 Presidential Election campaign, Dodou Sanneh was assigned to cover the coalition UDP/ NRP.
He said that during this campaign, the reports were monitored and they (at GRTS) realised that the accused person was quantifying those who attended the rallies.
He added that he (Sanyang) called Kebba Dibba to caution him (Dodou Sanneh) to change his manner of reporting, and to stop quantifying the number of people attending the rallies.
Kebba Dibba later returned to him, and informed him that he had cautioned the accused person (Dodou Sanneh), and he would change his manner of reporting, Sanyang went on.
Still testifying, DG Sanyang told the court that he personally called the accused person, and advised him to stop such kinds of reporting.
He said he told Sanneh that people were very happy with his way of reporting the political rallies, but he should stop quantifying the turnout.
However, the accused person’s response was that he was the one in the field, and he knows the number of people attending the rallies.
DG Sanyang added that it was based on these reasons that the management decided to terminate his services, since the accused person failed to stop quantifying the attendance at rallies.
He said that after terminating his services, Dodou Sanneh came to him to express regret for what he had done, and asked him to reinstate him.
Sanyang said he then told Dodou Sanneh that this was a management decision, and he (Sanyang) could not decide anything alone.
He added that a few days later, he was called by the Ombudsman regarding the termination of the accused person’s services.
The case was at that juncture adjourned till 5 July 2011.