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Police investigator cross-examined in ex-Minister Waa Juwara and Co trial

Sep 4, 2013, 9:09 AM | Article By: Bakary Samateh

A police investigator was yesterday cross-examined in the trial involving Lamin Waa Juwara, former Minister of Regional Administrations, Lands and Traditional Rulers, and two others, at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court before Magistrate Lamin Mbye.

The other accused persons are Hamidou Jallow, Principal Lands and Evaluation Officer at the said Ministry, and Tamsir Onasis Konteh, a local businessman.

Samba Sillah, a police officer and a member of the investigating team in the said case, earlier testified as the first prosecution witness (PW1).

Testifying under cross-examination, Samba Sillah told the court that the document he was holding was a copy for an exhibit, in response to a question by the defence counsel, Sheriff Marie Tambedou.

Counsel Tambedou then applied to tender the document as a defence exhibit.

However, the state counsel, Mamo, objected

She said the document was a photocopy, and counsel did not lay any foundation.

Tambedou responded that the document was already in court as an exhibit, and this was a better copy than the one which was already admitted in evidence.

The trial magistrate subsequently overruled the state counsel’s objection, and admitted the document which was marked as a defence exhibit.

PW1 told the court that he had seen the Alkalo’s stamp and signature, which was witnessed by the people who witnessed the whole transaction.

Officer Sillah added that the document itself showed that the transaction was witnessed by people who appended their signatures on the said document, during the course of the whole transaction for land compensation.

He was further asked by the defence counsel whether he had seen the letter claiming for compensation in the file at the ministry.

PW1 replied that he saw the said letter in the file for two plots of land located in Tanja Layout and one located in Kotu South, and that the accused person was claiming for another compensation of 8,000 square meters at the government reserve land.

Asked who the minister was at the time of this compensation, PW1 told the court that Pierre Tamba was the minister and Lamin Waa Juwara respectively.

The defence counsel put it to him tha it was during the time of Ismaila Sambou as the Minister of Local Government and Lands, and not Pierre Tamba or Lamin Waa Juwara, the 3rd accused person.

However, the witness maintained that it was during the time of Pierre Tamba and Lamin Waa Juwara.

Counsel then told the witness that the first accused person was compensated in 2005 when Ismaila Sambou was the minister, and that in 2011 he was compensated by Pierre Tamba, as Minister of Local Government and Lands, and that compensation was successfully being approved by these two ministers.

However, officer Sillah still maintained that it was during the time of Lamin Waa Juwara and Pierre Tamba, who gave approval and that there were minutes on the said compensation letter by the 2nd accused person, Haimidou Jallow.

Asked whether the investigation had proved that the first and third accused persons knew each other,the witness answered that they knew each other during the case.

The case was adjourned to 17 September 2013, for continuation of cross-examination.