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More testimony in ex-Agriculture officials’ case

Jul 17, 2012, 1:04 PM | Article By: Malamin LM Conteh

Alieu Tijan Savage,  assistant supplies officer at Ministry of Agriculture yesterday, testified as the fifth prosecution witness in the trial involving former senior Agriculture officials, before Justice Emmanuel Amadi of the Brikama High Court.

The accused persons are Alhagie Bakary Trawally, former permanent secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture, Momodou Mbye Jabang, former programme coordinator at the Ministry of Agriculture, Modou Ceesay a businessman, Dr Amadou Sowe, former permanent SECRETARY at the Ministry of Agriculture, Kekoi Kuyateh, former deputy permanent secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture, Dr Mustapha Ceesay,  former deputy director general NARI, Awa Sey Touray, former supplies officer at the Ministry of Agriculture, Seedy Jarju, and Yusupha Jawara. 

They were charged with five counts of economic crimes, three counts of uttering false documents and two counts of negligence of official duties.

Savage told the court that his duty was to receive fertilizer and rice from suppliers, adding that he was still working with the Ministry of Agriculture.

 He was aware of the 2009 fertilizer importation from Indonesia, and he received the balanced of the fertilizer amounting to 61,823 bags of fertilizer, which were stored in GGC stores at Denton Bridge, he said.

H added that he received brands of fertilizer, namely 15:15:15:15:15 and 62010 brands, and the said fertilizer was still in the store.

Designated as the fifth prosecution witness (PW5), Savage revealed that the balance of fertilizer he received was meant for him to store for a period of 6 months.

The state prosecutor, Simon Abi, at that juncture, applied to tender two bags of the 15:15 and 15:15 :15 brand, and one bag of 62010 brand.

However, the defence teams objected to the tendering of the bags, but were subsequently overruled and the bags were admitted as exhibits.

Under cross-examination by defence counsel Ida Drammeh, the witness told the court that the storekeeper had complained that there were problems with the store, and the only part of the store repaired was the roof.

He admitted that the storekeeper had no business with the importation of the fertilizer, and do not also get involved in the contract negotiation.

The witness further admitted that the storekeeper works on instructions, and they were only informed when the fertilizer arrived, adding that at the time when part of the fertilizer arrived, the 4th accused, Awa Sey Touray, was on leave.

 He further adduced under cross-examination that it was the duty of Awa Sey Touray to inform the NIA and the police whenever the fertilizer arrived, so that the NIA would send somebody to be present there.

Mr Savage explained that whenever there was evacuation of fertilizer, the 4th accused person always asked for security, and he (the witness) would record the bill of lading before the goods arrived so that they could be cleared from the ports.

 He denied seeing the fertilizer, and said the fertilizer came late, pointing out that it was not his duty to inspect fertilizer, neither the duty of the 4th accused to inspect the fertilizer.

 The 4th accused did not have the mandate to say that she would not receive the fertilizer until it was tested, he said, adding that he worked with Awa Sey Touray for more than 10 years.

The case continues today.