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NCCE Secretary testifies in theft case

Mar 14, 2011, 11:30 AM | Article By: Dawda Faye

Jonkunda Ceesay, Secretary at the National Council for Civil Education (NCCE), on 9 March 2011 testified before Magistrate Tabally of the Kanifing Magistrates' Court, in her own defence against the allegation that she stole D123,482.50 along with one Lamin Sanneh and Haruna Conteh, a charge they have denied.

In her testimony, she told the court that she lives at Bakau, adding that her involvement in the case was on 1st November 2011, when Lamin Sanneh and Haruna Conteh came with three police officers from the Police headquarters in Banjul for them to do the handing-over of their offices.

She added that Dawda Jallow, the programme officer, called her so that they could do the handing over. She testified further that Biram Jobe asked her whether she knew the other accused persons, and she answered in the positive.

Still testifying, she stated that she was doing voluntary service, taking records, and this was what she told Biram Jobe.

She stated that Biram Jobe told her to go with them to the police station.

"This was the time he advised me to go with the bank statement, and a cheque book," she further told the court.

At the police station, they went through the bank statement and the cheque book so that they could find out the difference of the closing balance of 2008 and opening balance of 2009.

She testified that when they went through, both the transactions were entered into the VCB book and cheque, except one cheque which amounted to D123,482.50 which was a UNDP fund received by Dawda Jallow from the UNDP on 27th December 2007, and paid into their account and withdrawn on 15th January 2008, from the account.

"That was the time we showed it to Biram Jobe, who advised us to write it down," she told the court.

She narrated that she asked Biram Jobe whether she could go home, but was told to wait and write her statement.

She added that she was not told anything after writing her statement, but was asked to switch off her mobile phone and give it to the other accused persons, which she did, and was detained on 1st November 2010.

"We were indicted on 5 November 2010, and we were asked to go to our office concerning the missing money," the accused said.

On 5th November 2010, she continued, Dawda Jallow promised to bring a balance of D37,000 to their office.

She stated that she was told by the auditor that nothing was given to him, concerning the missing money.

The accused indicated that the NCCE receives a monthly subvention, and that when they received the cheque, it was paid to the bank account.

"For the account at the Central Bank, you cannot have access to it unless it is signed by John P. Bojang, the chairman of NCCE. I am not a signatory to this account, neither the other two accused persons," she told the court.

She revealed further that the programme fund were not recorded in the VCB book, adding that they were kept by Dawda Jallow, and this was why the D123,482.50 was not recorded in the VCB book.

"This has brought the difference of the closing balance of 2008 and opening balance of 2009. We are not signatories to any cheque," she adduced.

Under cross-examination by the prosecuting officer, Inspector Mballow, it was put to the accused that they were queried for D106,000.

The accused responded that because of the D123,482.50, the sum of D106,000 arose.

"Funds are received before they are distributed," the prosecutor put it to the accused.

"Yes, they are recorded before they are distributed by the accountant," she answered, adding that the D123,482.50 was posted into the account of their office or institution.

"I am putting it to you that Dawda Jallow has no access to the account, and there is no document to show that the money was handed over to him," said the prosecutor.

"Because that was the procedure at the NCCE office," she told the court, adding that their salaries were posted to the bank, and there was nothing like handing over.

She further stated that they just count monies and hand it to Dawda Jallow without documentation.

"If the money was not handed over to Dawda Jallow, how can he have a balance of D37,000?" she asked.

It was further put to her that the D123,482.50 did not reflect on the account, but she said that the accounts section was responsible for recording all monies.

"I put it to you that Dawda Jallow was not involved in the transaction," the prosecutor said.

She denied it, stressing that she did not steal the said money, because she had no access to it.

"Monies cannot be distributed without the authority of the chairman, John P. Bojang," she said, adding that she did not connive with the other two accused persons to prepare false vouchers.

The case was adjourned until 31 March 2011 for judgment.