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Rongo opens defence in false information case

Feb 29, 2012, 12:44 PM | Article By: Bakary Samateh

Momodou Lamin Jarju alias Rongo yesterday opened his defence in the case involving him and Abdoulie Efry Mbye at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court.

Efry Mbye and Rongo are being tried for the offences of giving false information, making false documents without authority, uttering false documents and prohibition of conduct conducive to a breach of the peace.

Rongo told the court that he resides in Banjulnding in the West Coast Region.

He said that since the tenure of the first alkalo of Banjulinding, the late Landing Kotoring Janneh, there was always misunderstanding among the people of Banjulnding because of a few people. 

When told that the prosecution alleged that he and the second accused person, Efry Mbye caused all these troubles in Banjulinding, Rongo told the court that the allegation was totally false.

Designated as defence witness one (DW1), Rongo said the problems in Banjulinding are many, but said it is only few people who are behind the problems in Banjulinding.

He mentioned names including Eric Tundeh Janneh, the current alkalo of Banjulinding, Imam Bah (PW1), Malang Badjie, Ousman Badjan and Ousman Badjie.

Rongo further told the court that Eric Tundeh Janneh is the current alkalo of Banjulinding, and that he replaced the late Landing Kotoring Janneh, who Rongo described as a nice man.

He added that in 2005, Eric was removed from the alkalorship in Banjulinding, because he was alleged to have been involved in land dealing in Banjulnding.

When asked to look at exhibit A, which was a letter complaining about Eric Tundeh Janneh, in response Rongo told the court that it was not even the first letter written against alkalo Janneh for such malpractices.

He told the court that he remembered certain people who wrote against alkalo Eric Tundeh Janneh, and he believed copies of all the letters were in the court file.

The defence applied to tender exhibit A for identification purposes, and the document was admitted.

Rongo further said another letter was written by one Muhammed Faal, who also complained against the alkalo concerning land encroached in Banjulnding.

The said letter was also tendered for identification purposes.

He told the court that these letters were written, and copied to the council of elders and village development committee (VDC) of Banjulinding.

He said that after that letter, the council of elders, VDC and the community in Banjulinding also wrote to the authority concerned, and the said letter written by the council of elders was shown to DW1, which he confirmed as the one written by the council of elders in Banjulinding.

When asked whether he has thumb-printed the said letter written by the council of elders in Banjulinding, he said, “I never thumb-printed the said letter.”

He added that when the villagers wrote to the authorities, they  responded to their letter, noting that he had never organized any meetings in the village of Banjulinding as alleged by the prosecution, but instead it was Malang Badjie and his people who organized the meetings.

He added that during these meetings, they said the president had appointed Malang Badjie as the chairman of the council of elders in Banjulinding.

He said he saw a letter, read the contents and returned it to Malang Badjie, adding that one Ansuman Colley rose up, and said he was very delighted by the letter from the President Office for appointing Malang Badjie as chairman of council of elders in Banjulinding, and he prayed for the President for the numerous developments in the country and for making peace in Banjulnding.

He added that at that point, Imam Bah (PW1) and Lang Koita said the letter was a false letter, adding that they were not sure of the letter, and it did not come from the President’s office.

The case at that juncture was adjourned to 10 March 2012.