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Friday, February 23, 2024

Court admits transcribed audio ‘implicating’ PS Banja

Court admits transcribed audio 'implicating' PS Banja

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By Binta A Bah

The high court in Banjul has admitted a transcribed audio purported to be a conversation between the former permanent secretary at the Ministry of Fisheries Bamba Banja and a Chinese interpreter, Ming Ning.

Justice Bakri who rejected prosecution’s request to tender and play an audio at the last hearing, disagreed with Banja’s lawyer saying the transcribed audio document is different from the compact disc the prosecutors attempted to tender.

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Lawyer Abdoulie Fatty had argued that the document the prosecution sought to tender was an essential element and should have been served to the defence for the interest of justice for his client.

“Taking consideration of the previous ruling made by this court, this application is merely intended to circumvent the ruling,” he said objecting to the tendering of the document.

However, the judge differed with him and said there is no law stating that the prosecution has to serve him with all the evidences they intended to tender in court.

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Following the admission of the documents, a fraud officer who testified that he was among the investigators who recovered the audio admitted under cross-examination that he has no professional training on voice analysis.

“I put it to you that your entire case is based on suspicion,” Fatty asserted but Sowe disagreed with him.

When asked if he was aware that the vessel owners were fined D1 million dalasis, he said he cannot remember but admitted that he was aware that money was paid to the central bank by the vessel owners.

Meanwhile two more witness Ebrima Barry and Modou Lamin Njie testified for the prosecution.

Barry, a retired director at Africell told the court he was aware of the process that generated printouts of phone calls and explained that there were calls between Banja and Ming Ning.

An assistant agent at Kaderr Enterprise also testified and said he was aware that two vessels were seized by the navy in Gunjur and taken to Banjul and that he knew an investigative committee was set up but he does not know the members. Hearing resumes on March 9th.

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