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Lawyer Amie Bensouda cross-examined in Wowo, Jobarteh trial

Nov 21, 2013, 9:16 AM | Article By: Malamin L.M. Conteh

Lawyer Amie Bensouda yesterday continued to testify under cross-examination in the trial involving former Chief Justice Joseph Wowo, and former Justice Minister Lamin AMS Jobarteh, at the Special Criminal Court in Banjul before Justice Emmanuel Nkea.

Justice Wowo and Lamin A.M.S. Jobarteh were arraigned on a thirteen-count indictment which included abuse of office, conspiracy to defeat Justice and interference with witnesses, offences relating to Judicial proceedings, to giving false informing to a public officer.

Bensouda told the court that she had been practicing law for almost 32 years, and had stated in her evidence-in-chief that she was a solicitor general for almost five years, and had appeared before several commissions of inquiry.

According to her, the Judicial Secretary should report to the Chief Justice, but the Master of the High Court was independent and should not report to any office.

She added that the Chief Justice had no direct control over the Office of the Master, adding that the Office of the Principal Registrar did not take instructions or directives from the Office of the CJ.

Counsel Bensouda added that the Office of the Master and the Office of the Chief Justice are not in the same hierarchy and, therefore, they could not be compared.

She stated under cross-examination that the Office of the Master and the Principal Registrar are in the same structure, but the Master was at the apex.

The witness explained that the first person she approached when her staff was stopped from collecting information was the registrar, who referred her to Buba Jawo.

It was Wowo who told Anna Njie to come formally and not Jawo, she said, adding that the staff at the registry started collecting information before they were stopped by Buba Jawo, and the information they were collecting was on land cases.

She told the court that she had no interest in other cases, but only in land cases, adding that her request was clear as the data was tendered in court.

Senior counsel Bensouda added that she did not believe that the registry staff was collecting other information apart from land cases.

She told the court that the 1st accused had a malicious intention toward her, and that she had not written to the office of the C J and had no reason to write to the office of the CJ regarding the collection of that information.

She stated that exhibit H was her letter of complaint.

“I am not aware of any investigation conducted by the NIA, to the effect of the letter written by the 1st accused. I made a statement to the police during my two-day detention,” she said.

“I am aware that two of my staff also made statements to the panel, and defence exhibit 1 is the report from the panel of investigation,” she further stated.

“Expressly, the report did not say that Justice Wowo made a false allegation against me, but implied that Justice Wowo made false allegations against me. I am aware that the data I was collecting was from a public document and that is why it should be accessible,” she added.

“I always applied for public documents from the person responsible,” Bensouda said, adding that she did not pay any fee for collecting the data as no fee was attached to it.

The case continues on 21 November 2013.