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Ex-State House driver Sumareh opens defence in diplomatic passport trial

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By Bruce Asemota

Mansa Sumareh, President Adama Barrow’s former driver, has opened his defence in the criminal trial involving him and one Ebrima J.S Sanneh, a former protocol officer at the foreign ministry, before Justice Ebrima Jaiteh at the High Court in Banjul.
The two are standing trial on forgery of documents amongst others.
Mansa Sumareh stated that he was the personal driver to the president between 2017 and 2020 and he knows his co-accused (Ebrima J.S.Sanneh) in the 2016 election campaign.
The accused further testified that one Pa Modou Drammeh introduced Bakary Susso to him in 2019 and that one day, whilst he was sitting at home in Busumbala, Pa Modou Drammeh came with Bakary Susso and one Ibrahima, whose surname he cannot remember.
Mansa told the court that after they exchanged pleasantries, Pa Modou Drammeh told him that Bakary Susso wanted a diplomatic passport.
Mansa further told the court that he informed them that his compound was not the place to look for a diplomatic passport and directed him to write a letter to the Office of the President.
Mansa disclosed that Bakary Susso then told him that he was going to write a letter which he eventually did and gave the letter to one Modou Sowe, a senior protocol officer.
Mansa asserted Modou Sowe later called him informing him that Bakary Susso’s application has been approved and he, Modou Sowe, has written a letter to be sent to the foreign affairs but his car had developed a problem. He said Sowe then requested he, Mansa, to call him on his way home and give him a lift to drop the letter with the director at foreign affairs and they can proceed with their journey.
Mansa told the court that Modou Sowe actually proceeded to foreign affairs to drop the letter and came back to the car with the director.
The witness said Modou Sowe asked him to come with Bakary Susso the following morning and that he has already contacted Bakary Susso.
He further disclosed that the following morning, Bakary Susso called him and told him that he was at the Foreign Affairs Ministry gate waiting for him and after they met, they both went to the director’s office who happened to be one Ebou Sillah.
Mansa said at the office, he introduced Bakary Susso to Mr Sillah as the applicant of the letter that Modou Sowe gave to him.
Mansa said Mr Sillah went out of the office and talked on the phone with someone but later returned and told him that the two of them can leave and he would speak to Modou Sowe and they can come back.
Mansa Sumareh told the court that after that visit to Mr Sillah’s office, he did not know anything about the matter anymore.
At this juncture, Mansa Sumareh was shown a document purported to be Exhibit p6, supposedly a letter by defence counsel Segga Gaye and was told that the prosecution alleged that he conspired with the 2nd accused person, Ebrima J.S.Sanneh and forged the document.
Mansa denied the allegation and that he has ever discussed Exhibit p6 with the 2nd accused.
Asked if he was computer literate, Mansa replied that he has never sat before any computer.
Mansa said Modou Sowe is from the Office of the President and takes instructions from the Secretary General.
Mansa Sumareh told the court that Bakary Susso’s testimony was punctuated with falsehood and lies and his claim that he introduced Modou Sowe to him as the Director General of SIS is false and unfounded.
Mansa Sumareh told the court that the diplomatic passport was issued for free and that Bakary Susso’s claim that he gave him US$3400.00 was false.
He said all what he did for Bakary Susso was done out of his goodwill, noting that he has done so many things for people without them paying him.
The case continues on the 21st November, 2022 at 1pm.

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