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City of Banjul
Sunday, February 28, 2021

Lawyer for Njogu Bah described trial as ‘suffering’

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“This act by the DPP for denying us the necessary statements is even more than trial by ambush but trial by suffering. The state has all the statements in their possession and yet still they denied us to have access in order to enable us to conduct our cross-examination of the witness and prepare for defence,” Mboge submitted. 

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The defence made this revelation after the state witness confirmed that Mariama Ndure-Njie, permanent secretary at foreign affairs, had made a statement and it was in the file of the state but the director of public prosecution, Hadi Saleh Barkum, objected to tender the said statement when Lawyer Mboge applied for the production of the said witness statement for the purpose of cross-examination.

The DPP argued that the defence was served with the statements of all the witnesses and if he wants to cross-examine a witness, he has to link that particular witness to his or her statement. Lawyer Mboge attempted to stand up to raise a point, but the state chief prosecutor contended that the counsel was limited to reply on point of law. However, Mr Mboge persisted that he was not only limited to reply on point of law and that he had made an application and the state objected and that the Law of Evidence was silent on that issue and it was a matter of practice as different courts have different procedures. 

“This honorable court cannot conduct fair trial without hearing from both sides as it is clearly stipulated in the constitution which supersedes all other laws. And these statements requested amount to those required by the constitution for the accused to prepare for his defence. It is paramount and fundamental for this court to have all the necessary materials including the statements in order to arrive at a just conclusion in this case. This is more than trial by ambush but rather trial by suffering as the state has all the statements in their possession but still they are denying us,”Mboge submitted.

The arraigned former secretary general, head of civil service and minister of presidential affairs is being tried by state prosecutors on a count of abuse of office for posting Jainaba Jobarteh to the United Nations without following proper procedures. Mr Bah denied any wrong doing. 

Mr Bah is also serving a two-year jail sentence along with the former justice minister, Lamin Jobarteh and the former solicitor general and legal secretary, Pa Harry Jammeh after they were convicted by the Special Criminal Court in Banjul, last year. Hearing resumes April 16 for ruling and continuation of cross-examination.

 

By Baba Sillah

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