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In Efry Mbye, Rongo case Observer MD testifies

Sep 30, 2011, 1:51 PM | Article By: Malamin Conteh

Pa Malick Faye, Managing Director of the Observer Newspaper Company, yesterday testified in the ongoing trial involving Abdoulie Efry Mbye and Momodou Rongo Jarju, at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court before Principal Magistrate Tabally.

Momdou Rongo Jarju and Abdoulie Efry Mbye are being tried on charges of giving false information, making false document, uttering false document and prohibition of conduct conducive to a breach of the peace.

In his testimony, Pa Malick Faye told the court that he is the managing director of the Daily Observer Newspaper Company, and that he lives at the Yarambamba Housing Estate.

He told the court that he could recognize the accused persons, adding that he could remember when Uncle Efry Mbye came to his office with a letter purportedly from the Office of the President.

He added that the letter was acknowledging and thanking the elders of Banjulunding.

The Observer MD said that Efry Mbye gave him a letter which Efry said was given to him by Rongo to hand over to him, requesting for its publication in the Daily Observer newspaper.

He added that Efry told him that Rongo was busy, and he was coming around the Daily Observer Newspaper, and that was why he brought the letter, but Rongo would call later.

Mr Faye told the court that Rongo called him on a cell phone, asking him whether he (the witness) had received a letter from Efry Mbye, adding that he replied in the affirmative.

“Rongo requested that the said letter be published in the Observer Newspaper”, Faye said and that Rongo sent photos to his email box.

“I printed out the photos from my email box,” the Observer MD continued.

The prosecution at that juncture applied to tender the email message with the photos, which were admitted and marked as exhibits.

“After receiving the said letter with photos, I perused through the letter and photos and realized that the vital names were missing in the list of the elders on the photo,” he further told the court.

“Having already known that there was division in Banjulding between Erick, the former Alkalo of Banjulding, and Rongo,” Faye continued, he said he decided to verify for the purpose of clarity, because himself and the Daily Observer newspaper did not want to stir any communal problem.

“Having known that when you talk of council of elders, the alkalo is a member, and I did not see the name of the alkalo, I called Erick Tundeh, but I could not get him on the phone, and I decided to call the imam,” he went on.

Faye said he told the imam that he called the alkalo, but he could not reach him on his phone, and told the imam that he had a matter at hand and needed clarification.

“The imam asked me about the issue, which I explained, and further asked him if I can talk to the alkalo, but the imam told me that the alkalo was not in.”

Faye said he then decided to explain the matter to the imam, just for verification purposes.

Still testifying, the witness said the imam told him that he was going to Banjul, and would pass by his office.

When he came, Faye told the court, he showed the imam the photos, and he identify those in the photos, and said the photos did not represent the true picture of the council of elders of Banjulunding.

When the imam stepped out, Faye said he decided not to publish the materials.

Faye further informed the court that it is a practice at the Daily Observer that, when communities write to the Office of the President congratulating the President on the occasion of national events, the Office of the President usually sent a letter with a covering note addressed to him requesting for publication.

He added that almost all the letters bear the seal of the Gambia government signed by the secretary general, which was not the case in this one.

Testifying further, he said one day he was sitting in his office, and his secretary came and told him that personnel of the NDEA wanted to see him.

“I asked her to let them in, and the officer told me that he was sent by his boss, the director of investigation at the NDEA, who wanted to see me, and I went to the NDEA office at Holgam,” he added.

The hearing continues on 12 October 2011.