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Teacher testifies against former works minister

Jun 20, 2011, 1:59 PM | Article By: Dawda Faye

One Balanding Ceesay, a teacher, on Thursday testified before Magistrate Ngube of the Kanifing Magistrates’ Court against Lamin Bojang, former Minister of Works, who was dragged to court along with Baroo Construction by one Assan Bojang and his colleagues.

The plaintiffs, Assan Bojang and his colleagues, are claiming D349,198 being money owed to the plaintiffs by the defendants in respect of a construction project at  Sami Pochonki.

Damages for breach of contract had also been claimed by the plaintiffs.

The plaintiffs further claimed interest at the prevailing commercial bank rate and costs in the sum of D20,000.

In his testimony, the witness, Balanding Ceesay, told the court that he lives at Kuloro and knows the plaintiffs and the defendants.

He adduced that he got to know the plaintiff, Assan Bojang, through the second defendant, Lamin Bojang.

He further stated that he was at Sami Pochonki Lower Basic School as deputy headmaster.

He went on to say that there was a construct project at the staff quarters of the school, adding that it was given to Lamin Bojang of Baroo Construction.

He added that when it was to be implemented, he received a telephone call from his mistress, informing him that the workers on the project were about to come from the Kombos and asked him to prepare dinner for them, which was done.

He added that workers arrived around 12pm and introduced themselves that they were sent by Baroo Construction to build the quarters.

He said those who came were Assan Bojang, who was introduced as sub-contractor, Modou Chapman and others.

He testified that when the work started, it went up to a time when they were short of supplies.

He narrated that Assan Bojang explained to him that they needed workers from the community, and if he could make some arrangement for any workers to support the works, he would do so and make some contract for payment.

He further indicated that he was with Assan Bojang, who made a call to Lamin Bojang that they were short of certain materials which needed to be provided for the continuation of the work.

He told the court that he heard Lamin Bojang telling Assan Bojang that he could make arrangements to provide the materials within the community.

He added that he went directly to the school chairman, and explained to him that the workers needed some money and would like him to lend some to them on behalf of Lamin Bojang, adding that he gave them money to the tune of D66,110.

He testified that some time ago, when the money was needed by the school, he informed Assan Bojang.

He said Assan Bojang telephoned Lamin Bojang and informed him, and he (Lamin) promised that the money would be paid.

He said that after some months Lamin Bojang came to Sami Pochonki and found him with the school chairman and they claimed for the money, adding that Lamin Bojang gave them a date when they should meet him in the Kombos to settle their money.

He testified that he came with the school chairman to Lamin’s office when he was the Minister of Works, who explained certain constraints to them, and that he was not able to pay the bulk sum but would pay some.

He said he gave them a cheque for D15,000 and they went with Assan Bojang to the Islamic Bank where they cashed the cheque, adding that Assan Bojang counted the money and gave it to the school chairman in Assan’s house.

“What I know about the claim is that some workers were employed by Baroo Construction, who were made to work without being paid,” he concluded.

Lawyer Edrisa Sissoho represented the plaintiffs, while Lawyer Camara  threw his weight behind the defendants.

The case was adjourned till 28 June 2011.