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Trial of former GRTS reporter begins

Jun 14, 2011, 1:27 PM | Article By: Bakary Samateh

The criminal trial for giving false information involving Dodou Sanneh, former reporter with the Gambia Radio and Television Services (GRTS), yesterday commenced at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court before Magistrate Ma-Nyima Bojang.

According to the particulars of offence, the accused person, Dodou Sanneh, on 7th March 2011 in the city of Banjul, allegedly presented a petition letter to the Office of the President at State House in Banjul, stating that his services was wrongly terminated, when he knew the same to be false.

Testifying as the first prosecution witness, Kebba Dibba, a senior GRTS staff member, told the court that he resides in Busumbala village in the West Coast Region, and that he knew the accused person as a reporter at GRTS.

"On 17 March 2007, I received a phone call from one Inspector Baldeh that I was needed regarding investigation of unlawful termination of the services of the accused person, Dodou Sanneh," he said.

Dibba told the court that the accused person said he (Kebba Dibba) called him from the 2006 presidential election campaign trail, when he was covering a rally.

He further told the court that the accused person also said he returned D3, 600 to him (Kebba Dibba) at his house which was his allowance, but Dibba denied that the accused ever gave him any money at any given time.

"There are rules and terms for such payment, and I am not the authority handling such rules and responsibilities," he added, noting that during the 2006 presidential campaign, GRTS Management filed a complaint that the accused person’s reports were exaggerated in terms of numbers of the people who attended the United Democratic Party (UDP) rallies.

He added that the Director General of Gambia Radio and Television Services (GRTS), Momodou Sanyang, questioned him several times regarding the said reports.

Dibba also told the court that he personally called the accused person, and warned him to do balance reporting and stop quantifying the number of people attending the rallies.

He noted that, in September of 2006, the accused person’s services were terminated as a result of exaggerated reporting, and that a few days later, he (Sanneh) was reinstated. Dibba said after that he left for further studies in the United Kingdom.

The case was then adjourned till 20th June 2011 for cross-examination.