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More witnesses testify in transport union president’s trial

Jul 2, 2015, 9:33 AM | Article By: Bakary Samateh

Two more witnesses yesterday testified in the trial involving Ousman Drammeh, president of the Gambia Transport Union, accused of giving false information at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court before Magistrate Fatou Darboe.

Drammeh was charged with giving false information to the Office of the Secretary General and Head of the Civil Service.

Yesterday’s proceedings heard the testimonies of the fifth prosecution witness, Essa Tamba, and the sixth prosecution witness, Sheikh Jobe.

Essa Tamba said he has been in charge of Abuko garage since 2006, and he lives in Tallinding.

He said that on 30 June 2014, while at work, a police officer called Yoro from the Major Crime Unit at police headquarters in Banjul came and told him to report to the unit in regarding the petition letter that Mr Drammeh wrote to the Office of the President.

The witness told the court that he told the officers the claim by the accused was unfounded.

Tamba testified further that the trucks were loaded with goods in Banjul based on first come first served basis.

Sheikh Jobe, a resident of Serekunda, told the court that sometime in July 2014, he was at home when he received a call from the major crime unit in Banjul to go and answer.

He arrived at the major crime unit, and was whether he did load a vehicle in the port claiming to go to Mali, which he then offloaded in Banjul, “which was totally not true”.

He said when he went to the garage, he found out that the labourers loading the truck had a problem, and he decided to go back to the store where they loaded the vehicle.

“I found out that the Malian had a problem with the owner of the goods, but later went to the police to sort the problem out,” he said.

The case was adjourned to 13 July 2015.

In count one, prosecutors alleged that Mr Drammeh in May last year wrote a petition to the Office of the Secretary General and Head of the Civil Service and Minister for Presidential Affairs, claiming that Mumine Sey, current president of the Gambia National Transport Control Association, and Sheriff Dibba, secretary of the association, connived with senior police officers at Banjul Police Station to forcefully remove Filijeh Nyassi as the president, information the prosecutors believed was false.

Count two revealed that Mr Drammeh, in the same year, petitioned the office of the secretary general, claiming that the president of the GNTCA, Mumine Sey, collaborated with senior customs officers to load vehicles with goods from the Gambia ports claiming such to be on the transit trade, just to park such vehicles in the street for two to three days, and finally discharged the same in a store in The Gambia, loaded other goods bought in The Gambia and that such vehicles would move in facilitating the transit trade ; information he knew was false.

Count three stated that Mr Drammeh, wrote a petition to the secretary general, claiming that the president of the said association collected monies from various car parks within the Kanifing Municipality for fifteen years without accounting for the funds, information prosecutors said was also false.

Count four alleged that he wrote a petition to the office of the secretary general, claiming that the president of the Transport Control Association had liberalised the Gambia transport sector by giving priority to foreign trucks over Gambian owned trucks, among others, information he knew to be false.