Sep 18, 2008, 5:49 AM
Alassan Ndoye, continuing his evidence-in-chief yesterday before Justice Amadi of the Special Criminal Court in Banjul, told the court that Momodou Sabally offered him three projects to choose from in exchange for the vehicles he brought for sale to the President.
Ndoye also said Sabally asked him to come for his money in a week’s time after their transaction, but the time expired 7 to 8 months ago and it had taken one year plus since he left his vehicles in The Gambia.
He said Sabally sent PW1 to his house with three projects for him (Ndoye) to choose from, adding that one of the projects was building roads and infrastructure development.
He said PW1 told him that the accused said they were going to hold onto the vehicles as guaranty since they did not know him.
He said he was angry about it and told them that he was not in The Gambia to beg but to help, adding that he told PW1 to tell the accused that he (Ndoye) could not do business upon business, and they would have to close the present one first.
He said the accused did not give him his money, and he was selling the vehicles for 60 million CFA each, adding that he was not given back his vehicles. Under cross-examination, senior counsel Gaye asked the witness if he knew a Gambian by the name Omar Sey, but the witness said he could not remember.
“Is Omar Sey not the one who told you to bring your cars to The Gambia for sale,” asked counsel Gaye.
“I recall now it was Omar Sey who called me by telephone and told me that General Badjie has seen the photograph of the vehicle,” said the witness.
“What else did he tell you?” counsel further asked.
“I told him to come to my home in Senegal and for him to fuel the vehicle to take it to Banjul,” said the witness.
The witness further added that Mr Sey asked him whether they were going to buy the vehicles if what was on the photo was the same as the vehicles.
“Did Omar not tell you that he knows someone in The Gambia who will be able to get you in touch with General Badjie?” asked counsel.
”Yes, he said so.”
Mr Ndoye further told the court that the vehicles were brought to The Gambia, and they are still in The Gambia.
He said he brought them to The Gambia himself.
“After three months on your arrival in The Gambia you were not able to see General Badjie,” counsel challenged.
The witness responded in the positive.
“When you spoke to him about your cars he told you nobody told him about it, but that in any event buying and selling of cars is not part of his responsibility but that of the protocol officer,” counsel added.
“Yes, that’s true but he added that if he was the one who was interested in the vehicle, he would have provided me with an escort,” said the witness.
“I put it to you that what you said General Badjie added is an afterthought,” said counsel.
“I am under oath,” said the witness.
“What General Badjie added, you forgot to include that in your statement at the NIA,” counsel further quizzed him.
“Maybe it is in my statement,” said the witness.
“I put it to you that you are being evasive, and that you don’t want to answer the question.”
The DPP said the witness could not remember everything.
“I am not evasive,” responded the witness.
“I put it to you that what you said General Badjie added is not in your statement,” said counsel.
“Yes, it is not in my statement,” said the witness.
“Is it correct that Omar Sey told you, when you came to The Gambia, that the transaction of selling the vehicle might take three days,” counsel quizzed him further.
The witness responded in the positive.
The witness said that after the failure of his discussion with General Badjie someone introduced him to PW2, who in turn introduced him to PW1 and that it was through PW2 and PW1 that he came to meet Momodou Sabally.
The witness was asked whether when the vehicles came to The Gambia it passed through customs.
“Yes, and I paid the customs duties,” said the witness.
Counsel requested for the receipts of the payments at customs.
“When I came to the customs, I was not given any customs receipt but if it is necessary I would go and get it,” said the witness.
“Did you pay the customs duties?” asked counsel.
“Yes, I paid D50,000 for the two vehicles.”
When asked whether he demanded for a receipt, the witness said he asked for it, but was told to go because there was a problem.
“You want the court to believe that you paid D50,000 and the customs did not give you a receipt, and told you to go?”
“I don’t know the laws of The Gambia, and I was told to go. So I complied.”
“I put it to you that you smuggled the vehicles into The Gambia, and you did not pay customs duties,” counsel said.
However, the DPP objected to the statement, adding that smuggling is an offence, prompting the judge to intervene and say to the defence counsel that the rhetorical question would incriminate the witness.
At that juncture, the defence counsel said they would address the court on it at the next hearing.
The case continues today at 1pm.