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Trial of former Observer Sports Editor continues

Aug 5, 2011, 1:31 PM | Article By: Bakary Samateh

The false information trial involving Nanama Keita, former Observer Sports Editor, continued yesterday at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court before acting-Principal Magistrate Alagba.

Testifying under cross-examination, Alagie Jobe, deputy editor-in-chief and head of the editorial department, told the court that he knew why the accused person was sacked by the Observer Company.

He said that he (Jobe) handed over the dismissal letter to the accused person, after frequent publications against the company’s Managing Director.

When asked by defence counsel Neneh Cham how many alleged publications or correspondences the accused had sent to the US–based Freedom Newspaper, Jobe told the court that he did not know.

He said the first publication the management detected was on 24th April 2011, and that was the only one he could remember, but the records are there.

Jobe also told the court that the office handed over Keita’s dismissal letter to him (Jobe), which was a photo copy, and that the original copy was with the Observer management.

At that juncture, the defence counsel Neneh Cham applied to tender the photocopy of the said dismissal letter, which was admitted and marked as defense exhibit “A”.

Jobe was then asked by the defence counsel to read the said dismissal letter in court, which he did.Asked whether there was any reason indicated in it, as to why the accused person’s services had been terminated by the Observer management, Jobe in response told the court that there was no reason stated in the said letter, as to why the accused person was dismissed.

He pointed out that prior to Keita’s dismissal, there was no displinary action taken against him.

The witness also told the court that all Observer staff were issued with press cards.

The accused person’s press card was produced in court, and the witness confirmed that the press card belonged to the accused. On it, Keita was designated as deputy editor-in-chief at the Observer newspaper.

When it was put to him by the defence counsel that an attestation letter was signed by the Managing Director of the Observer Company in respect of the accused, which described him as hardworking, Jobe responded that he did not know about that.

The said attestation letter was tendered in court as defence exhibit A2.

Jobe further told the court that when the petition letter was received by the authorities, investigation was mounted by the police and the NDEA at the Observer Company.

He said that statements were obtained from all senior members of staff, including himself, the Managing Director Pa Malick Faye, Momodou L. Sanneh, Amie Manga and Momodou Njie.

When asked whether it was correct that the accused gave his office keys to the painter man, Jobe said he did not know about that.

Further asked as to whether the Observer management asked the accused to log into his email account to see whether he has links with the Freedom Newspaper, Jobe said the accused person consented to that.

Defence counsel then put it to him that when the accused logged into his email box, no correspondences were found regarding communication with the Freedom Newspaper. Jobe’s response was that he did not know about that.

The case at that juncture was adjourned till 8 August 2011.