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Police officer continues testimony in Gamcotrap trial

Dec 23, 2010, 1:19 PM | Article By: Bakary Samateh

Lamin Manneh, the seventh prosecution witness, in the criminal trial of Dr. Isatou Touray, Executive Director of the Gambia Committee on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children (GAMCOTRAP), and Amie Bojang-Sissohor Programme Co-ordinator of the same organisation, continued his testimony yesterday at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court.

The two prominent women’s rights activists are being tried before Principal Magistrate Emmanuel Nkea for allegedly stealing € 30,000 Euros being money provided by the YALOCAMBA SOLIDARIDAD of Spain to GAMCOTRAP.

Continuing his testimony, Manneh told the court that, upon receipt of the documents, statements were obtained from both parties.

He added that after obtaining the statements, a team of investigators left for the Central River Region and Upper River Region respectively, to meet the women circumcisers, and statements were also obtained from them.

He posited that upon completion of their investigations, a report was prepared which he recognised in court.

At that juncture, the prosecuting officer attempted to tender the report in court as an exhibit, but this was objected to by the leading defence counsel, Amie Bensunda, on the grounds that the report was not served to the defence.

She added that it would be improper for the defence to cross-examine the witness on the documents.

Counsel Bensouda reminded the court that it made an order for the prosecution to serve the defence with all relevant documents pertaining to the case.

Responding to the defence counsel’s objection, the prosecuting officer told the court that the prosecution had served the defence with all the relevant documents pertaining to the case.

Subsequently, the court overruled the defence counsel’s objection, and admitted the investigator’s report, which was marked as an exhibit.

Testifying under cross-examination by Amie Bensouda, PW7 told the court that he was part of the investigating team that went to CRR and URR, together with one Lamin J Gassama, an NDEA officer.

He added that the team of investigators recovered a lot of documents from Gamcotrap, when they received the complaint from the complainants.

Officer Manneh further told the court that they did not make any inventory of the documents, but he was aware that the investigation into this case began this year 2010.

When the defence counsel asked whether he was aware that her client organisation did not misuse any fund from YALOCAMBA SOLIDARIDA, the witness replied, “I’m not aware of that.”

He said that the panel had interviewed one Daniel Kida, who was before the panel when he came to the Gambia.

The witness said he could not ascertain the time Daniel Kida came to the Gambia, but this was some time in June 2010, and that he (Kida) wrote his own statement before the panel.

Manneh told the court that he has been working as a police officer for 22 years now.

When asked if he was aware that Daniel Kida was not part of the project, and only got involved when he came to the Gambia, the witness said he was not aware.

The case continues today.