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'I did not get on well with Mrs Allen'

Mar 21, 2011, 11:45 AM | Article By: Dawda Faye

Laurence Bruce, Deputy Executive Director of GNOC, last Thursday told the Kanifing Magistrates' Court that he did not get on well with Beatrice Allen, Ousman Wadda and Muhammed Janneh, all GNOC officials, in his testimony in the trial against the trio.

Continuing his testimony before Magistrate Tabally, he stated that he lives at Latrikunda German and works for the GNOC, and that he recognized the accused persons.

He stated that he was called at the NDEA, and asked about the accused persons and for him to shed light on the issue of monies that were paid to Lang Tombong Tamba.

He told the court that he had advised the accounts (section) that the monies should be put in the suspended accounts.

Bruce added that it was the accounts officer, Muhammed Janneh, whom he advised, further stating that he could not say whether the advice was heeded.

He also said he made a statement at the NIA.

Under cross-examination by defence counsel, Ida Drammeh, the witness said he also gave a statement to the NDEA.

He was asked who the Executive Director was, when he was having such discussion with Janneh, and Bruce said it was George Gomez.

"Is it correct that George Gomez is an uncle to Mr Sheriff Gomez, the Minister of Youth and Sports?" asked the defence counsel.

"I don't know," he answered.

"When did the discussion take place?" the defence counsel enquired.

"It was last year," said the witness, adding that he was friendly with the accused persons.

"That is why you wrote a rude and cheeky letter to Beatrice Allen?" Ida Drammeh asked.

But the witness asked the defence counsel to be specific as to the time and date of the letter, stating that he has worked at the GNOC for almost four years.

"Is it correct that instructions are written?" asked the defence counsel.

"I personally did not make instructions," he answered.

"Accounts department acts in accordance with financial regulations," the defence counsel further put it to the witness.

"Yes, it does," he replied.

"You mentioned that Lang Tambong Tamba is the former president of GNOC. When did he cease to be the president?" defence counsel questioned.

"I don't know," he added.

"Lang Tombong Tamba was entitled to certain allowances," Ida Drammeh put it to the witness.

"Yes," he replied.

"The sum of that is the subject matter of the charge, payable by GNOC," said the defence counsel.

"It is correct," he told the court.

"You did not make any effort before you went to the NIA or NDEA when Lang Tombong Tamba ceased to be the president of GNOC," the defence counsel challenged him.

"I did not," he stated.

It was put to him that he could not remember when the financial conversation was made and also asked whether he was familiar with the financial regulation of GNOC. He answered in the positive.

Asked whether the Executive Director gives instructions, and he said in some cases.

"You don't give instructions to the accounts department," Ida Drammeh wanted to know.

"I do on small expenditures," he adduced.

"It is not correct if the Executive Director says that he makes vouchers and payments to be effected," the defence counsel put it to him.

"It is correct," he added.

"Do you know when the allowances should have been paid?" asked the defence counsel.

"I don't know," he answered.

"Is it correct that payments were made to Seedy Kinteh?" defence counsel asked.

"Yes, but I am not sure whether it was D24,000," the witness told the court.

"The amount paid to Seedy Kinteh was kept in the safe in his office," said the defence counsel.

"I don't know," he replied.

"It is correct that D10,000 was actually not paid out. It was kept at GNOC," the defence counsel said.

"I don't know," replied the witness, adding that he was at GNOC when Abou Dandeh Njie was the president.

It was again put to the witness that, on 16 July, 2007, Abou Dandeh Njie approved two payment vouchers and gave them to Seedy Kinteh, but he said he does not know.

At this juncture, the defence counsel applied to the court to tender the said voucher. The prosecutor objected to the application, and argued that the voucher was a photocopied one.

The defence counsel rose to say that the witness had indentified the document as payments made, and the document was relevant.

She urged the court to admit the said document, and further said the defence would provide the court with the original copy.

But Magistrate Tabally rejected the document, because it was a photocopied one.

"It is correct that you are of the view that Mrs Allen was held-bent on getting you removed from GNOC," the defence counsel put it to the witness.

"Yes, it is correct," he told the court.

"It is correct that on 26 January 2010, you wrote a letter," the defence counsel continued, and the witness answered in the positive.

"It is also correct that Beatrice Allen, on 12 April 2010, advised the IOC that you had been nominated as the new Executive Director of GNOC," the defence counsel told the witness.

"Yes, it is correct," he answered.

"Do you have a letter that the IOC wrote on 14 April, 2010, acknowledging you as the Executive Director of GNOC?" enquired the defence counsel.

"Yes," he told the court.

At this juncture, the defence counsel asked the witness to bring vouchers dated 16 July 2007, along with the letter he had mentioned.

Superintendent Camara objected to the request made by the defence counsel, and said such an order should be made by the court.

As a result, the presiding magistrate ordered the witness to provide the court with the original copies of the letter and the vouchers.

"Did you make any statement in relation to Seedy Kinteh?" asked counsel.

"No," the witness replied.

The case was subsequently adjourned till 23 March 2011.