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Petroleum DPS cross-examined in former PS Sallah trial

Nov 10, 2015, 10:15 AM | Article By: Bakary Samateh

Roheyatou Kah, deputy permanent secretary at the Ministry of Petroleum, has said as the deputy permanent secretary she used to assist the permanent secretary, mainly on the day-to-day affairs of the ministry.

She also stated that sometimes she would step in for the permanent secretary, when he was busy with assignments such as attending national and international seminars and workshops.

DPS Kah was testifying under cross-examination before Principal Momodou Jallow of the Banjul Magistrates’ Court, where Mr Sallah is being tried for “stealing office computers.”

Asked by defence counsel Farage about her qualifications, DPS Kah said she has a BA in English Language and Master’s in other related fields as well as a diploma. She said she has no qualification in engineering.

She said she could not remember the day and date when the former permanent secretary was arrested in connection with the workstations.

She said she too was arrested by personnel of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) in connection with the alleged workstations, and made her statements before she was released.

The NIA did ask her about the workstations, she said.

At that juncture, the counsel gave her a piece of paper and she confirmed the statement as the one she made at the NIA in her own handwriting.

She said the statement was in connection with the workstations, adding that sometimes she used to be part of the senior management meetings and other office activities on behalf of the permanent secretary.

Counsel Farage applied to tender her statement as a defence exhibit. However, it created some argument between police prosecutor Alpha Badjie and the defence counsel.

The police prosecutor, Sub-inspector Alpha Badjie, told the court that the document sought to be tendered was a photocopy and, as a result, it did not meet the requirements of the Evidence Act.

He urged the court to reject the document.

In response, defence counsel Luna Farage told the court the defence was surprised that the prosecution was raising an objection to the admissibility of the document, which was from the state’s custody since the onset.

She said the witness had recognised it as the statement she made at the NIA office, adding that even though it was a photocopy, it was still relevant.

The trial magistrate, however, overruled the application made by defence counsel for the admissibility of the documents as a defence exhibit.

The case was subsequently adjourned until 17 November 2015.

Former PS Sallah is accused of instructing, without approval from the Minister of Petroleum at the time, the purchase of three HP computers to the tune of US$25,400.45.

The alleged incident happened in November 2014 when he was the PS at the Ministry of Petroleum.

He is alleged to have later stolen the computers and taken them to his house in Senegambia.

Sallah is also accused of abusing his functions as PS when he allowed the purchase of the equipment without approval from the Minister of Petroleum at the time.

He denied any wrongdoing.