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Trial of former deputy Sheriff, others continues

Oct 7, 2011, 1:24 PM | Article By: Yusuf ceesay

The trial of Gibril Badjie, former deputy Sheriff of the High Court, who was arraigned alongside Momodu Mamor Ceesay, Alimo Bah and Ebrima Karris, continued recently at the Kanifing Magistrates’ Court.

The accused persons were arraigned on charges of conspiracy to commit felony, theft, trustees fraudulently disposing of trust property and abuse of office, charges they had denied.

Testifying under cross-examination, Mustapha Ceesay, a prosecution witness and a complainant in the case, told the court that the fourth accused, Ebrima Karris, gave Gibril Badjie, former deputy Sheriff of the High Court, D875,000 after he (the fourth accused) sold his (the witness’s) property in Kololi.

Asked when he was leaving for the US whether he left a pending suit against him in court, he replied in the affirmative, adding that he could not remember the name of the other party.

“Not withstanding you decided to leave a pending case against you,” the counsel told him. In response, the complainant said: “I was terribly sick.”

Further asked as to whether he appointed anybody at the time he left the country, the witness told the court that he did appoint lawyer Ousainou Darboe.

“Do you want lawyer Darboe to go and give evidence on your behalf?” the counsel enquired and the witness adduced that lawyer Darboe was the one handling his case.

“Did you appoint anybody to give evidence on your behalf in 2003?” Counsel further questioned and in response, the complainant told the court that he gave an affidavit and power of attorney to his brother, but in 1998, he did not appoint anybody to give evidence on his behalf when he was travelling.

He further revealed that in 2001 the power of attorney was sent to him which he signed.

When put to him that at the time he appointed the first accused to represent him, judgment was already obtained against him, in reply, the complainant told the court that he did not believe that and that no information was sent to him.

When quizzed as to whether during police investigation in 2011 he was not told that judgment was entered against him in his Kololi property, the witness replied in the negative, saying that no document was shown to him to that effect.

He further denied that his property was sold pursuant to court order.

At that juncture, the counsel then put it to him that in his statement in 2011, he agreed that he was informed that his kololi property was sold pursuant to court order.

The witness admitted, saying he was informed by his brother concerning his land between 1998 and 2011.

Still testifying under cross-examination, the complainant revealed: “I was aware of a fife, but I was not aware of judgment to sell my property.”

It was put to him by counsel that a fife could not be attached to his property in the absence of judgment or court order, to which the witness conceded.

Counsel put it to him that after judgment was delivered by Justice Grant, he appealed against the said decision and lost the appeal, but the complainant said that was what his brother told him.

He denied that after a fife was attached to his property, it was advertised for auction.

Quizzed by counsel on how he knew, the witness said he came to know about that when the fourth accused was confronted, who said he bought the property not in an auction.

Counsel again put it to the complainant that there was auction and pursuant to that and the advertisement, his client bought the said property, which the witness denied.

Counsel revealed to the complainant that when his client bought the property, he informed the sheriff that he was representing someone to sell the property and when he got a buyer, he would then prepare a title deed in that person’s name.

In response, the complainant told the court that could not be true, adding: “The fourth accused sold my property to one Fansu Samateh to the tune of D1.5 million and he paid Gibril Badjie D875, 000.

Counsel put it to him that whether he would agree that D875, 000 was the purchased price between the fourth accused and the sheriff, the complainant insisted that the fourth accused gave Badjie D875, 000.

However, he agreed with the counsel that since the fourth accused bought the property he could sell it at any other price to any person.

He denied that his title deeds were useless.

Hearing continues on 13 October 2011.

Count one revealed that the accused persons between 1995 and 2003, stole D555, 584, being proceeds of sales of land situated in Kololi, property of Mustapha Ceesay.

Count two stated that the first accused person, Momodou Mamor Ceesay, received D275, 000, being proceeds of sales of land situated at New Jeshwang, property of Mustapha Ceesay.

Count three alleged that the first accused person, whilst in the position of trust, disposed and converted two landed properties situated at Kololi and New Jeshwang, without any instruction from the complainant.

And count four stated that the second accused person, Gibril Badjie, in 2002, at the Sheriff Division of the high court in Banjul, whilst employed as Deputy Sheriff, ordered the auction and documentation of a landed property situated in kololi, property of Mustapha Ceesay, without his consent.