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State closes case in editor Jobe and Co trial

Oct 24, 2013, 9:35 AM | Article By: Malamin L.M. Conteh

State prosecutors yesterday announced the closure of their case in the trial involving the deputy editor-in-chief of the Daily Observer Newspaper, Alhagie Jobe, and one Mbye Bittaye, at the Special Criminal Court in Banjul before Justice Emmanuel Nkea.

This was after the testimony of the prosecution’s fourth witness (PW4), Madikhan Jobarteh, head of the logistics and procurement department at the Daily Observer Company.

Alhagie Jobe was arraigned on a five-count charge of making an act with seditious intention, seditious publication, and possession of seditious publication, giving false information to a public servant, and reckless and negligent, while Mbye Bittaye was arraigned on a single count of making preparation to do an act with seditious intention.

In his testimony, Madikhan Jobarteh told the court that he lives at Bakau, and has worked for the Daily Observer for 20 years, and knew Jobe as a colleague.

He is the head of the logistics and procurement section, and Jobe was the acting editor-in-chief of the newspaper.

He further told the court that he knew nothing in the case, but could remember that Jobe once told him that somebody wanted him to write something for him in order to facilitate asylum somewhere.

“I told Jobe that he is a senior man in this company, and what that person is requesting is illegal and criminal. The man was asking for a document to support his asylum status, and Jobe told me ‘they think I am mad; I’m not crazy to do that’ ”, PW4 told the court.

Under cross-examination by defence counsel E. Jah, the witness added that the 1st accused said he was not crazy to do that.

It was at the NIA he learned that it was done, but the 1st accused did not give him the details of the issue, Jobarteh went on, adding that by looking at the document he was not in a position to say that the article was authored by Jobe.

“I cannot confirm that it was authored by the 1st accused. I did not see this article in the possession of the 1st accused. I was invited by the NIA and I gave a statement, and when I was at the NIA, I did not see the 1st accused at the NIA. I did not even know he was at the NIA,” said the witness.

The case continues on 5 November 2013, when the defence is expected to file a no-case-to-answer submission.