Jan 28, 2016, 9:53 AM
One Demba Jallow, owner of Farouk Trading dealing in foodstuff, yesterday told the Banjul High Court that he regretted doing business with the accused persons.
Demba Jallow was testifying in the trial of the former Lower Saloum NAM, Pa Malick Ceesay and former NEDI accountant, Ismaila Njie, before Justice Abi.
They are being tried on a 23-count charge ranging from neglect of official duty, disobedience of a statutory duty, economic crime, stealing by persons in public service, making false document and uttering false documents.
Testifying as the first prosecution witness (PW1), Demba Jallow told the court that he is a businessman and owns a business called Farouk Trading that deals in foodstuff.
He knew the accused persons and also heard of NEDI, adding that sometime in October and December 2009, he met with the accused persons who were NEDI officials.
He said according to the accused they have a project which involved petty trading, and are looking for a better price of goods.
He offered prices for the items and they (the accused persons) listed, went away and then came back to say they were interested in buying from him.
They then listed the items they (the accused persons) were interested in, and provided their own trucks to load the goods, he said.
The witness added that after loading the goods in one or two trucks, he told them to pay him, and they said they would do the payment.
He later called Ismaila Njie, the 2nd accused to come and do the payment, which the accused did.
The 2nd accused issued him (witness) a cheque for D1.5 million, he said, adding that the total value of goods needed from him by the accused persons was over D2 million.
He supplied the accused persons twice.
Jallow further stated that when he finished supplying them, the accused persons gave him D640,000, adding that after sometime he was given D600,000.
There was a balance of D45,000, he said, adding that before the end of 2014, he was called at the Serious Crime Unit to write a statement.
He said that when he finished writing his statement, he even told the police that he regretted doing business with the accused persons.
He added that the reason being that, every now and then, he (the witness) would receive calls from the police asking him to go and answer.
He also told the police that he could not still collect his remaining money of D45, 000 and the police told him to write a letter to NEDI and request for the balance, which he did and he was given his money.
Under cross-examination, defence counsel E. Gomez reminded the witness that he told the court that at the time he met with the accused persons he was operating a business, and the witness replied in the affirmative.
“Your business name is Farouk Trading,” Counsel asked.
“Yes,” said the witness.
“Was it a registered business?”
“You told the court that you supplied the accused persons on two different occasions.”
“Did the accused persons sign those invoices?”
“I cannot remember.”
“Do you have the records of the transaction between you and the accused persons?”
“Yes, I do.”
“Who signed those records of transaction?”
“I know about the document I signed and the one I gave the accused persons.”
“Are you telling this court that you don’t know if any of the accused persons sign the document?”
“I don’t know.”
“Would it have been normal for them to sign it?”
“Did the two accused persons sign the documents?”
“I cannot remember.”
“Will you be able to produce the document before the court?”
The DPP then gave the document to the counsel, and it was given to the witness to identify it, which he did.
Counsel Gomez then applied to tender the document in court, and it was admitted in court and marked as an exhibit without any objection from the state.
“You told the court that the invoice was signed by you.”
The document was shown to him to indicate where the signature was, and he said there was no signature on it.
“In other words, you did not sign it.”
“Yes, this one was not signed.”
“To who was this document addressed?”
“To the director of NEDI.”
“Did you provide the accused with a copy?”
“I provided a copy for the accused person.”
“Did you make any profits in the transaction?”
“Did the accused persons demand any part of your profit?”
“Do you know where the trucks loaded with goods were taken to?”
“No, but they were military trucks.”
“Can you tell the court the signatory to the cheque you were paid in?”
“I don’t know.”
“The only regret you have with doing business with the accused persons was the numerous calls from the police and the balance of D45, 000.”
The case continues on 6 July at 12 pm.