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Police Officer Testifies in Dutch National's Case

Jan 7, 2009, 5:26 AM | Article By: Dawda Faye

Sulayman Gaye, a police officer who was called by Cadet. Inspector Mballow to testify in the ongoing case involving Marc Maurice Alfred Vanmaldegum, gave evidence on the 6thJanuary 2009, before Acting Principal Magistrate Sainabou Wadda - Ceesay of the Kanifing Magistrates' Court.

In his testimony, the witness told the court that he was a Sub-inspector by rank. He stated that he knew the accused. He indicated that they were working on a tip-off from intelligence officers that the accused played a role in the affairs of Charles Northfield who was standing trial and subsequently escaped to the U.K. He added that having received the information on the 13thOctober 2008, he and his colleagues went to Kombo Beach Hotel where the accused works as an operations manager.

He revealed that the accused was invited to Kotu Police Station for questioning and investigation.

He went on to say that during the course of interrogation, the accused revealed that he came to know Charles Northfield as a guest of his hotel. He adduced that the accused further narrated that on two or three occasions he sat with Charles Northfield at the bar of the said hotel to have a drink. He stated that the accused told him that Charles Northfield was undergoing trial at the court but it was unfortunate for him to leave the country.

He further testified that the accused had told them about Charles Northfield's family in his cautionary statements, which was recorded. He stated that on independent witness and some officers were present when the accused wrote his cautionary statements. He adduced that during the investigation, the accused said he received a phone call from Charles Northfield requesting him to go to his room at the Hotel to collect his car key and some items to be shared among the hotel staff.

He went on to say that the accused told them that he collected the key to Room 110 from the reception and opened the door. He added that the accused told them that it was Charles Northfield who gave him the code of his safe to open it and took the items and kept them. He added that the accused was questioned as to how Charles Northfield got his mobile number and he told them that Charles Northfield must have contacted the hotel. He further adduced that the accused was accompanied to his room where a car key and a bottle of drink were found and he told them that they belonged to Charles Northfield. He finally stated that the accused had told them that Charles Northfield asked him to keep the car key, which was going to be collected by someone.

Under cross-examination by the defence counsel, Badou Conteh, the witness told the court that on or before the 3rdSeptember 2008, the police did not enter Charles Northfield's room and that they did not also instruct anyone to put Charles Northfield under surveillance. He added that he did not know whether the police had placed Charles Northfield's pictures at the borders. It was put to him that Charles Northfield was a freeman and this was why there was no restriction against him.