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In bankers’ trial, prosecution witness taken to task

Dec 30, 2015, 10:21 AM | Article By: Dawda Faye

Samba Mballow, the second prosecution witness in the case involving Haddy Jatta, Kabiro Darboe and Momodou Secka, bankers at BSIC bank, who were charged with conspiracy, stealing and fraudulent and false accounting, was on 29 December 2015 cross-examined by defence lawyer Batchilly, who was representing Haddy Jatta.

Asked whether it was correct that he was arrested, he answered in the positive, and said he made a statement to the police, adding that the statement was with the police.

A cautionary statement was shown to him and he confirmed that it was his statement.

Lawyer Batchilly applied to tender the cautionary statement, but the prosecuting officer, Chief Inspector Fadera, objected and said no proper foundation was laid.

The witness was not asked whether he thumb-printed or signed the cautionary statement, the police prosecutor said, and urged the court not to grant the application.

Lawyer Tambedou, who was representing Kabiro Darboe, said he was not objecting to the application made by lawyer Batchilly to tender the cautionary statement.

Lawyer Batchilly said the section quoted by the prosecutor was not relevant, adding that he laid a proper foundation and that the witness confirmed he made the cautionary statement.

The objection made by the prosecution was misleading, he argued.

Lawyer Tambedou then associated himself with the submission made by lawyer Batchilly, adding that the witness was “very important” in the case and that the proper foundation was laid by his colleague.

Magistrate Kijera, in his ruling, said the prosecutor confused the laying of a foundation with relevance.

He then overruled the objection made by the prosecutor, granted the application, and admitted the statement.

At this juncture, the witness was given three voluntary statements by lawyer Batchilly to go through, and he confirmed that the statements given to him were his.

Lawyer Batchilly again applied to tender the voluntary statements, and the prosecutor did not raise any objection.

Lawyer Mboge, who was representing Momodou Secka, also did not object to the tendering of the voluntary statements by lawyer Batchilly.

Lawyer Tambedou did not make any objection.

The voluntary statements were admitted.

Continuing his cross-examination, lawyer Batchilly asked the witness whether it was correct that he was charged before the charge was withdrawn, and he answered in the positive.

He was asked how long he knew Haddy Jatta and he said he knew her four years ago.

Asked whether it was correct that he knew her before she worked at BSIC bank, he answered in the positive.

The witness confirmed that he knew her when she was working at Skye Bank, adding that he and his boss had some dealings with her.

He further testified that the dealings were on foreign exchange, adding that they did not have any problems with her at Skye Bank.

Samba Mballow, the witness, told the court that his boss gave him $68,969 to deposit at BSIC bank.

However, he was challenged by lawyer Batchilly, who told Mballow that his boss had said in his statement at the police that he gave him $69, 969 to save at the bank.

He was asked whether he was saying that his boss was not telling the truth in his statement at the police, to which he said he (the witness) said the truth.

Asked what time he paid the $68,969 to the bank, Mballow said it was after 3pm, adding that his boss sent him to the bank between 11am and 12noon.

Mr Mballow further testified that he paid the money to Momodou Secka, adding that he was not given a receipt.

Challenged that he could not give out that amount of money and not given a receipt, Mballow maintained that he was not issued with a receipt.

Asked whether he had evidence that he paid the money to Momodou Secka, he said he was given a printout to show that he paid the money.

At this juncture, he was given a printout and asked whether the amount was indicated on it, and he answered in the negative.

The case was adjourned to 5 January 2016.