Jan 10, 2011, 3:20 PM
Seedy Kinteh, president of the Gambia Football Association (GFA), on 13 April 2011 testified before Magistrate Tabally of the Kanifing Magistrates’ Court in the alleged theft case involving Beatrice Allen, Ousman Wadda and Muhammed Janneh, officials of the Gambia National Olympic Committee, GNOC.
In his testimony, he told the court that he lives at Kololi, and knows the accused persons.
The GFA is affiliated with GNOC, Kinteh said, adding that Beatrice Allen is the first vice president of GNOC, Wadda the treasurer and Muhammed Janneh is the accountant.
Kinteh also told the court that he knows Lang Tombong Tamba, adding that Tamba was the first vice president of the GFA and also president of the GNOC.
Further testifying, he said he received Lang Tombong Tamba’s allowance in 2010 from GNOC to the tune of D24,000, which was his salary for four months.
He added that he received the allowance in his capacity as the president of the GFA, while Lang Tombong Tamba was in detention, further stating that he signed for the money he received on behalf of Lang Tombong Tamba.
Kinteh said he could identify the document he signed for the money.
At this juncture, he was given the document by the prosecutor to identify it, which he did.
Inspector Mballow, who is now handling the case applied to tender the document.
Lawyer Ida Drammeh, the defence counsel, objected on the grounds that the document was a photocopy.
She referred the court to a previous ruling concerning photocopied documents.
The prosecutor rose and urged the court to admit the document sought to be tendered because, he argued, it was relevant to the issue, and referred the court to Section 3 of the Evidence Act.
The foundation had been laid; moreover, the witness said he was not in custody of the original copy which was with the accused persons, the police prosecutor continued.
He further submitted that the document sought to be tendered would not prejudice the rights of the accused persons, and cited authorities to support his argument.
Ida Drammeh again rose and said that the prosecutor could not cite the authority when it was not in his possession.
Magistrate Tabally ruled that the document sought to be tendered was a photocopied one, and it was the prosecution that should have provided the court with the original copy.
He subsequently rejected the photocopied document.
Continuing his testimony, Seedy Kinteh told the court that he kept the money in his safe, and that it was no more with him.
He added that one Omar Colley of the NIA invited him for questioning, and that he was asked about the money he received on behalf of Lang Tombong Tamba.
He said he told the investigating panel that the money was in his office, kept in a safe.
The panel asked for his office keys, which were handed over to Omar Colley who was the head of the panel, Kinteh told the court, adding that he was subsequently escorted to his office by Omar Colley and Lamin Manneh.
They opened the office and entered, and he opened the safe and removed the money which was in an envelope and was in four bundles, each containing D6,000.
He told the court that, at that juncture, Omar Colley and Lamin Manneh called the director of NIA and told him that the money was there, adding that they signed for receiving the money.
He said the NIA officials took the money away.
He identified a receipt of the money which was handed over to Omar Colley.
The prosecutor applied to tender the receipt as for identification purposes, which was accepted by the court.
During cross-examination, Ida Drammeh asked Seedy Kinteh whether it was correct that he was asked to a give a statement on a caution.
The witness answered in the positive.
“Is it correct that when you received the money on behalf of Lang Tombong Tamba, you did not know why he was detained?” the defence counsel continued.
“Yes,” replied the witness.
“Is it correct that the accused persons did not know either?” asked the defence counsel.
“Maybe,” he answered.
“Why was the money in your safe?” asked counsel.
“For safekeeping,” he said.
“You kept it for safekeeping so that you could hand it over to Lang Tombong Tamba,” said Ida Drammeh.
“Yes, it was for him,” Seedy told the court.
“You were aware that the money was due to Lang Tombong Tamba,” the defence counsel added.
“He was entitled to it,” Kinteh stated.
“Mr Colley and Manneh were surprised when they found out that the money was safe and intact,” Ida Drammeh put it to the witness.
“Yes,” Seedy answered.
“Did they express their surprise to the Director General of NIA?” counsel went on.
“Yes, this was clear through their conversation,” he replied.
“NIA never disputed that they collected the money from you,” said Ida Drammeh.
“Yes,” the witness told the court.
“Is it correct that neither you nor the accused persons stole the money?” asked the defence counsel.
“Yes, it is correct,” Seedy told the court.
The case was adjourned till 21 April 2011.