Dec 31, 2008, 5:49 AM
Bamba Mbacke Gaye a Senegalese who claims to be an economist and holder of a Masters Degree in Economics from Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar recently appeared before senior magistrate Baboucar Secka of the Kanifing Magistrates' Court for obtaining money by false pretence.
Mbacke Gaye, who denied all the charges against him, told the court his side of the story following the prosecution's closure of its case.
In his testimony, the accused told the court that he is the delegated administrator of an NGO in Senegal which fights against ignorance and poverty. He added that they had a meeting to expand the NGO within the sub-region.
Mbacke Gaye told the court that he arrived in The Gambia on 26th January 2010, and enquired about the Ministry responsible for registering NGOs. He said he first went to the Ministry of Justice, but was directed to the Ministry of the Interior where he was given some documents that outlined the conditions for establishing an NGO in The Gambia.
He further narrated that he discussed with friends the conditions, and that during their meeting, someone undertook to translate the documents into English. He added that they had visiting members who were not satisfied with the translation.
He went on to say that he visited one Assan Sarr on the 7th April 2010 and told him that they came to The Gambia to set up an NGO. Assan took him to his brother called Ebrima Sarr, who was told that they wanted a local body for the NGO and they needed a national co-ordinator, executive secretary, two technical assistants and a financial director, among others, and also an office.
"The NGO did not send me any money," he testified. He further adduced that he handed over the documents to Ebrima Sarr who gave him his CV and expressed interest in the NGO. He narrated that Ebrima Sarr accepted the conditions, and signed to that effect.
He informed the court that to become a member of the NGO, one must pay a fee of 1000 Euros.
He stated that Ebrima Sarr paid a fee of 500 Euros and promised to pay the balance. He said that no receipt was issued because the payment was not complete. He added that he forwarded the documents to the Executive Director in Senegal.
Ebrima Sarr later paid a further 200 Euros which was for the purpose of providing him with an ID card.
"After sometime, the complainant lost interest and demanded his money back," he told the court. He asked the complainant to put it in writing, and he (the accused) quoted the reference. Later, the complainant came with two police officers to arrest him.
The prosecuting officer, Inspector Mballow, under cross-examination, asked the accused whether he stated that they had an office in Bakau, and he answered in the positive.
"Did you have authorization to establish an NGO in The Gambia?" Mballow asked the accused? "Yes," he answered.
"At the time you had an office in Bakau, the NGO was not registered," the prosecutor put it to him. "Yes," said the accused.
"I put it to you that whatever you did in the office was illegal," Inspector Mballow challenged the accused. "No, we were preparing for the registration," the accused said.
"Did you buy your position in your NGO?" Mballow enquired. "Yes," the accused told the court. "How much did you buy your position for?" the prosecutor asked.
"2 million CFA," answered the accused.
"Do you know that NGOs are charitable organizations?" challenged Inspector Mballow.
"I don't agree," the accused said.
"The document you prepared and gave to the complainant was fake," the prosecutor put it to the accused. "I don't agree," the accused replied.
"Where is the address of the NGO on the document?" Mballow asked.
"It is a Sali Portugal," the accused answered.
"Why the address is not stated on the document?" the prosecutor enquired.
"It should not be there," said the accused.
"Why did you not ask the complainant to send the money to Senegal to the NGO's account?" Mballow asked.
"I was mandated by the constitution to receive monies," stated the accused.
"You used the name of the NGO to fraudulently obtain money from Sarr," Mballow said.
"That is not correct," the accused told the court.