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Sunday, September 27, 2020

Defence PS quizzed in Njogu Bah trial

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Mr Yusupha Dibba, who was the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the time of Ms Jobarteh’s appointment, said he did not know whether Ms Jobarteh was a master’s degree holder in international law.

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During cross-examination Lawyer Mboge asked him: “As former PS at the PMO, is there any file that goes to SG for posting and is it not prudent to have someone knowledgeable in international law for the post at The Gambia’s Mission at the UN?” 

In reply, the state witness curtly said, “I’m not here to give my opinion,” but Magistrate Lamin Mbaye told him to answer questions posed to him. 

On being asked if the accused could give instructions and overwrite decisions made by him (witness) in his capacity as the SG, Dibba said: “It depends on the instructions. If it is binding rules of services and procedures that has to go under the PMO and public services but if is a day-to-day business that does not need to be overwritten,” Yusupha Dibba, stated.

The witness was further asked if all permanent secretaries were answerable to the SG. He said yes but said he was not aware of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs proposing the appointment of Ms Jobarteh.

Still under cross-examination, the lawyer suggested to the witness that the posting of Ms Jobarteh was forwarded to the accused by the PMO, but the witness said he wouldn’t know. “The message from the SG is what I conveyed to the PMO and not any proposal from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs during my time,” Mr Dibba added. 

Magistrate Lamin Mbye told him to answer questions put to him by the defence adding, “I don’t want to warn you again. Let this be the last warning to you,” when Dibba told the defence lawyer “as a legal person, you know I cannot do that.”

Mr Dibba admitted that it is the duty of the SG to furnish The Gambia’s Mission to the UN with staff. However, he said he wouldn’t know if the accused did anything else in filling The Gambia’s Mission at the UN. 

The matter was then adjourned to for the state to call another witness.

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