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Trial of former GPA directors’ continues

Sep 20, 2013, 10:04 AM | Article By: Bakary Samateh

The trial of two former senior officials of the Gambia Ports Authority continued yesterday at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court before acting-Principal Magistrate Lamin Mbye.

The trial continued with the cross-examination of Chief Inspector Amadou Kujabi of the Gambia police force, who was the third prosecution witness and a member of the investigation panel.

Hali Abdoulie Gai, former GPA director of finance, and Abdoulie Tambedou, the institution’s former managing director, are being tried under a five-count indictment, which included two counts of neglect of official duty, and three counts of disobedience of statutory orders.

Under cross-examination by the defence counsel Ebrima Jah, Chief Inspector Kujabi told the court that the first accused was the acting managing director of the Gambia Ports Authority, but for a short time.

He added that there was a D30 million grant by the Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation, and would be able to recognise the letter.

Asked by the defence counsel what the D30 million was meant for, PW3 told the court that the D30million was for purchasing new engines for the old ferries, and there was a taskforce looking into the issue of ferries and recommended the said sum for engines for the old ferries.

He said the payment was done when the first accused person left office.

Further asked by counsel whether it was correct that those monies were being approved by the board of GPA, Chief Inspector Kujabitold the court that as far as he knew, the first accused person acting in his capacity as the managing director had overall say at the GPA in anything they were doing.

He has the power to reject any resolution that may not go well with the GPA finances, he said.

“Since 27 April 2011, I cannot tell whether the first accused person was in office, as I am not sure, and it’s also a long time now,” officer Kujabi said in answer to another question.

Regarding the D150 million, he continued, the same taskforce that was responsible for looking into the issue of ferries also made a recommendation for the purchasing of two new ferries.

Asked whether he knew that the said D150 million was spent to buy the two new ferries, the witness insisted that 45 percent of cash was being used to settle the government’sshare in Galli Holding Company.

The first accused person has indicated in his own statement that when he was appointed as the managing director, there was a taskforce that recommended such.

The witness told the court that it was correct that he did mention in his evidence-in-chief that during the investigation, they discovered that, since the payment was made in 2012, GPA neither received the spare parts nor the training of local staff.

The case was then adjourned to 23 September 2013, for continuation of cross-examination.