Jun 2, 2011, 12:30 PM
The first prosecution witness in the GNOC case, Omar Drammeh, yesterday told the court that it was Seedy Kinteh who had told him that he (Seedy) received D24, 000 from Ousman Wadda for safekeeping.
This development followed when defence counsel, Ida Drammeh, asked the witness whether he knew that D24,000 out of the D34,000 which was alleged to have been stolen by the accused, was meant for Lang Tombong Tamba’s allowance, and was received by Seedy Kinteh and kept for Lang Tombong Tamba.
Continuing his testimony before Magistrate Tabally of the Kanifing Magistrates' Court, the witness told the court that he is stationed at Holgam Company in Kanifing and recognized the accused persons, namely Beatrice Allen, Ousman Wadda and Muhammed Janneh.
He said he works for the NDEA and, while in the office on 13th December 2010, he was instructed to record a cautionary statement from Ousman Wadda.
He stated that he did not obtain the cautionary statement because Ousman Wadda told him that he could write his own statement, and he (the witness) endorsed it.
"I introduced myself to Ousman Waada and called an independent witness, Morro Saidykhan, who thumb-printed the document and everything was translated to the independent witness in Mandinka. Ousman Wadda signed the document and the independent witness also signed," he added.
The prosecuting officer, Superintendant Camara, applied to tender the cautionary statement, but the defence counsel, Ida Drammeh, objected.
She asked the court to reject the said document sought to be tendered, arguing that the prosecution said he had two documents as the cautionary statement, and the witness talked about only one cautionary statement.
The defence counsel added that there was nothing on the document to show that it was a cautionary statement, further stating that the witness spoke about an independent witness who is illiterate and that the document was translated to him.
The prosecution applied to the court to disregard the objection by the defence, stating that it was clearly indicated that the document was a cautionary statement, and the accused had signed it.
He urged the court to set aside the objection by the defence, adding that it was immaterial to say that the independent witness was illiterate, since he could understand what was translated to him.
Magistrate Tabally rejected the said document in favour of the defence, saying that the witness did not say that the accused was cautioned.
Under cross-examination, the defence counsel put it to the witness that the NDEA is a statutory body to look into drug related matters, and their mandate is limited. The witness said it was correct.
The defence counsel again put it to the witness that the NDEA has no business taking statements from accused persons, to which the witness answered that he was ordered to take cautionary statement from the accused persons by his department.
"Were you involved in the payments allegedly paid to Lang Tombong Tamba?" asked the defence counsel. "I was not," the witness replied.
"Where is Morro Saidykhan?" the defence counsel asked.
"He is in Serekunda," answered the witness.
"Is he paid every month?" the defence counsel enquired.
"No, he was just passing," said the witness.
"Do you know the prosecutor?" asked the defence counsel.
"No," the witness replied.
"Do you know Seedy Kinteh?" the defence counsel asked
"He wrote his statement and endorsed it," the witness said.
"Who is this Seedy Kinteh?" asked the defence counsel.
"He is the president of GFA," the witness told the court.
"Was he charged?" asked the defence counsel.
"He was not," the witness answered.
It was put to the witness that it was correct that monies that are the subject of the charge were allowances that were said to be due to Lang Tombong Tamba. He said he could not answer.
It was again put to the witness that D34,000 meant to have been allowances of Lang Tombong Tamba was allegedly stolen by the accused persons. He said he does not know.
It was put it to the witness further that the remaining D10,000 was also kept, to which he stated that he was not aware.
"Were you shown the receipts of these allowances, that have been obtained by NIA authorities?" asked the defence counsel. "No," the witness said.
"Did you know that all these monies were kept by the NIA authorities?" inquired the defence counsel. "I don't know," the witness replied.
Asked about the accused persons' roles as GNOC officials, he said he did not know.
At this juncture, the prosecutor applied for an adjournment to call more witnesses.
Magistrate Tabally adjourned the case till 10th March 2011.