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Witness recalled in Cocaine 9 trial

Jun 24, 2011, 1:22 PM | Article By: Malamin Conteh

The state prosecutor yesterday applied to recall the tenth prosecution witness, Inspector Lamin J Gassama, to tender a statement through him in the multimillion dollar cocaine trial involving nine foreign nationals at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court before acting-Principal Magistrate Taiwo.

The nine accused persons are: Ephriam Micheal Chiduben a Nigerian national, Juan Carlos Sanchez, Eric Bottini, Dose Fermin, Juan Carlos Diaz, and Esteaban Zavala all Venezuelan nationals, George Sanchez a Mexican/Liberian national, as well as Rudy Rasoehamid Gazi and Dennis Wilgo Winter both Dutch nationals.

They all pleaded not guilty to the charges of conspiracy to trafficking in prohibited drugs, trafficking in drugs, dealing in prohibited drugs, having firearm without authority, importation of firearm without authority, among others.

In his testimony, the witness told the court that he is a narcotics officer and that he recognised the accused persons.

He said the accused persons were brought before the panel held at the NIA in connection with the suspected cocaine, where they were interviewed by the panel.

Officer Gassama added that he obtained a cautionary statement from the 1st accused person, Gazi, adding that before obtaining the statement he invited an independent witness called Babucarr Khan.

 “I read the cautionary wording to the accused person in English. The accused said he understood and thumbprinted, the independent witness signed and I also endorsed it,” he testified.

Still testifying, he said he read the statement to the accused, who said it was correct and thumbprinted, and the independent witness signed.

The prosecutor at that juncture applied to tender the said cautionary statement as an exhibit, and it was admitted and marked as an exhibit.

The witness under cross-examination told the court that the exhibit was obtained on 8 June 2010, and admitted that it has three marks of tippex, because he made some mistakes while he was filling it.

 The case continues on 28 June 2011.