May 30, 2008, 6:21 AM
The trial of 14 immigration officers and two GCAA officers charged with forgery and official corruption proceeded yesterday at the Brikama Magistrates' Court, with the continuation of the testimony of the fifth prosecution witness.
Inspector Saine Sanyang, attached to the Yundum Police Station, told the court that when the accused persons were brought to the police station he obtained their statements.
He said statements were taken from Alieu Jammeh, Ebrima Jallow, Kinteh Janneh, Makunba Jamanka, Muhamed Allen, Matilda Camara, Abdou Jatta and Mbaka Janneh.
He further stated that he could remember the names of some officers notably, Inspector Wassa Touray and 1s Class Saikou Joof, who obtained statements from the rest of the accused persons.
At this juncture, the prosecutor, MB Muhammed, tendered the said statements, which were marked as exhibits without any objection from lawyers: Lamin Camara and H.Gaye. However, Lawyer Buba Jawo, representing the 2nd, 4th and the 7th accused persons, raised an objection concerning the statements obtained from his clients.
He argued that a confessional statement should be obtained in the presence of an independent witness, and that there was a column in the paper, which should occupy the signature of the independent witness, but that column was empty. He noted that the statements are irrelevant to the case.
In response, prosecutor MB Muhammed stated that statements obtained from the accused persons are not confessional, but cautionary statements and that they were signed by the accused persons themselves.
The trial magistrate, Emmanuel Nkea, after listening to both sides, overruled Lawyer Jawo's objection.
The case continues today.