Oct 23, 2008, 5:51 AM
Cherno Omar Barry, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology, on 26 January 2016 continued his testimony in the case involving One Amadou Touray, who was charged with stealing a project vehicle, before Magistrate Wilson of the Kanifing Magistrates’ Court.
Continuing his testimony, Mr Barry told the court that a meeting was convened at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs chaired by its permanent secretary on the modalities to reimburse the funds.
After the meeting, the Ministry confirmed the reimbursement of the funds to the Republic of China.
Mr Barry narrated that naturally, assets of every project remained with the beneficiary of the project, adding that the assets were purchased either for implementation of the project or for the benefit of the project.
He adduced that at the closure of the project, it needed to undergo both financial and asset audits, adding that from the recommendations of the audit, action was taken.
Mr Barry further stated that upon the recommendation of the Office of the President, the auditing of the project and financial audit were done.
He revealed that a draft audit report was submitted with queries for their reaction, adding that the project was executed by the Ministry of Higher Education and implemented by the project management unit.
Mr Barry stated that queries were addressed to those entities, adding that they were required to provide clarification on all the queries before the financial report was done.
He adduced that they responded to the best of their ability, adding that as the project manager, the accused was required to respond to the queries, which he did.
Mr Barry testified that the accused sent him a copy of his response to the queries by email on 1 December 2014.
He said he had copies of the response by the accused, adding that he obtained the copies from his computer and that the computer was for his official use and it was in good shape.
At this juncture, he was asked to produce the copy of the accused’s response dated 1 December 2014, which he did.
Sergeant 3560 Colley then applied to tender the copy of the response.
The defence counsel, Batchilly, then gave the said copy to the accused to go through it, which he did.
Batchilly told the court that he had no objection to the tendering of the document.
The court admitted the said document.
Mr Barry said they had T-shirts which were produced for advertisement, printers, computers and the project vehicle.
He further stated that upon the audit queries, the project manager was allowed to use the project vehicle because he was supervising the project.
Mr Barry said a letter was written on 11 December 2013, addressed to the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Finance and copied to him, informing him that the project vehicle should be given to the accused.
He revealed that he was not aware of any information on whether there was any reaction to the letter or any decision taken.
Mr Barry added that he had to go by the directive of the queries to return all the assets to the ministry, including the vehicle.
He testified that he would expect an official letter from the Minister of Finance to ask him as the executive agent to give the vehicle to the accused for his personal use.
He added that, technically, the vehicle was an asset and should be handed over like any other asset.
He said he did not know who had the vehicle at the time, adding that all the assets were handed over, except the vehicle.
The case was adjourned until 2 February 2016.