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Trial resumes of ex-public health officers

Sep 12, 2012, 9:22 AM | Article By: Malamin L.M.Conteh

Trial resumed yesterday at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court in the case involving Ahmat Samba, Kemo Touray and Bolong Jobarteh, former deputy director of the Food Hygiene and Standards unit of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare.

They were charged with three counts, including conspiracy to put into effect an unlawful purpose, sale of noxious article and sale of unwholesome food.

The case resumed with the testimony of the second defence witness (DW2), Karamo Keita, former public health officer at the Health ministry.

The witness told the court that he was a principal public health officer at the Ministry, under the environmental health unit.

He said he served for 27 years, and the 1st accused person, Bolong Jobarteh, was his boss and colleague.

“In 2010, I was called by the 1st accused, Bolong Jobarteh, informing me that there was one businessman, called Mr Annan, who had a store at the Denton Bridge, and the store contains food items like flour and rice,” he told the court.

Jobarteh said he wanted him to inspect the store, because the man wanted to change his business from food items to the cashew nut trade.

The 1st accused further told him that the man wanted to empty the store, because he had a new consignment, the witness continued.

“Upon receiving that information, I went and visited the store at Denton Bridge, where I found some flour and rice in the store, and I inspected the said items,” DW2 added.

Keita further told the court that the quantity could not be identified, but they also realized that some of the bags were infested with weevils, and that, as a result, the 1st accused informed him about a man who was later known as Kemo Touray.

He said Kemo Touray was certified by the ministry, and he would call him to sort things out in order to separate the good ones from the bad ones.

The 1st accused later called and informed him that he asked Kemo Touray to sort out the items, but at that very time Mr Annan was urgently in need of his store, as his new consignment had arrived.

DW2 added that the flour was contained in bags; that they observed that some of the bags were infested with weevils, and the bags had an expired date.

Kemo Touray came and received the flour for the sorting out, he said, further stating that during the sorting out process, the 1st accused assigned a junior health officer to the place where Kemo was separating the flour, while he (the witness) was supervising the sorting out process.

When the expiry date was due, the 1st accused ordered them to stop the sorting out process, and suggested for the rest of the flour to be taken to the President’s animals at the Farato farm, since they were not too bad, he continued.

The NIA DG facilitated two military trucks to transport the two hundred bags of flour to the President’s animals at the Farato farm, he said, adding that he did not see Bolong Jobarteh taking bags of flour.

Mr Keita added that he was arrested in connection with the case, and he found the 1st accused, Nget and Kemo Touray at the NDEA, where he was detained and that, after three days, he made his statement.

The case continues.