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WR Governor testifies in Giboro-Gidda land case

Aug 27, 2010, 1:46 PM | Article By: Yai Dibba

Governor Lamin Sanneh of the Western Region on Tuesday appeared before the Brikama Magistrates' Court, where he testified under cross-examination in the criminal trial of 86 people from the villages of Giboro-Kuta and Gidda in his region, who are involved in a land dispute.

Testifying before Magistrate Emmanuel Nkea during cross-examination by defence counsel Borry Touray, Governor Sanneh produced documents pertaining to the land dispute between Giboro-Kuta and Gidda, which were requested by the defence counsel at the last adjournment date.

He told the court that the actual documents that were requested for by the defence counsel were not found in his office, but produced other documents, which according to him, also pertained to the case before the court. These documents were tendered and marked as exhibits.

Asked whether there was any document from the task force, Governor Sanneh told the court that the document was issued by the then task force comprising former Governor Abdou Badjie, Chief Alagie Bakary Badjie, Alagie Dembo Jabbi and others.

Defence counsel Borry Touray put it to him that the names he gave as members of the land administration task force were not those of the members.

Governor Sanneh told the court that there was a land dispute between Gidda and Talokoto when asked whether he said so in his statement.

Further asked who settled Gidda, the Western Region Governor told the court that one Idi Jarju settled Gidda. He testified that when the incident happened, he visited the scene and found some police officers on the ground.

During the visit, he added, he did observe some land clearing exercise on the particular land. He said he met the accused persons, but did not talk to anyone of them. However, he told one Sulay Jatta that when there is any problem about the land issue, they will go to court. Asked whether he identified anything on the particular land, Sanneh replied that the land was surrounded by trees.

Further asked whether it is true that he did not lay his hands on any written order from the then Governor Abdou Badjie during his search, Governor Sanneh told the court that the documents there indicated that only a boundary has been demarcated, and the books have been given to the two villages.

During cross examination by defence counsel Sagarr Jahateh, the witness said it was then Governor Badjie and others who did the demarcation, but he did not know the demarcated area. Asked how he knew that there was a boundary between the two villages, he said, the demarcation was done by the Physical Planning task force and the two Alkalolu, and that this is now in the records. The case was adjourned to 7th September 2010.

It would be recalled that the accused persons were charged with conspiracy to commit a felony, disobedience to lawful order and threatening violence.

On count one, the particulars of the offence stated that Modou Jatta and eighty-five others conspired to commit a felony by disobeying the divisional authority's orders.

Count two stated that the accused persons on 31st January 2010 disobeyed a lawful order of the Governor and the authority of Western Region by unlawfully gathering at a restricted place between Giboro-kuta and Gidda.

The particulars of offence on count three stated that the accused persons were found in possession of arms and threatened to assault, injure and kill.

All the eighty-six accused persons have pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

They were granted court bail in the sum of D300, 000 each with one Gambian surety.