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City of Banjul
Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Lawyer slams VP’s protocol officer’s evidence

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Musa Sinyan said he made efforts to contact the former secretary general and presidential affairs minister before the Vice President left for the inauguration of President Jacob Zuma. Lawyer Antoumane Gaye however said the evidence was an ‘afterthought’.

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“That evidence is a lie and I’m putting it to you that it is not true that you tried to call the accused person. They are just afterthought,’ Gaye said but Sinyan said he was on oath and would not lie to the court.

Sinyan had earlier told the court that the delegation was in South Africa to only witness the inaugurations of the Thabo Mbeki Foundation and President Zuma. However, he admitted under cross-examination that he would not know if Sabally was doing other assignments for President Jammeh while he was in South Africa. He confirmed that Sabally is only answerable to President Jammeh.

When asked who else did not attend the inauguration of President Zuma, Mr Sinyan said it was only the vice president and her bodyguards who attended the ceremony. Asked if he had found out from Sabally why he did not attend the ceremony, Sinyan said that was not his responsibility.

“I’m putting it to you that Sabally, Professor Kah and the honorary consul in South Africa went to the venue but could not enter because the heads of state were arriving at the time they reached,” Gaye pressed but Sinyan simply replied: “That is protocol.”

“Apart from Sabally, who else came to the aircraft late?” Gaye while making reference to the aircraft asked but Sinyan said it only Sabally who came late.

“I’m putting it to you that professor Kah also came late. He travelled in the same car with the accused person,” Gaye said. Replying Mr Sinyan said: “Only Sabally came late.”

Meanwhile, still on the issue of the hotel, Mr Sinyan told the court that it was not his responsibility to call Sabally. He said his responsibility was to inform Sabally the time to leave the hotel.

“Out of concern since you said it was not your responsibility, why did you not ask the receptionist the whereabouts of the accused person?” Gaye quizzed but Mr Sinyan replied: “I did not ask the receptionist.”

Gaye further asked: “So when you were moving, you realised that one of your delegates was not there, did it not concern you to find out what happen to him?” Mr Sinyan however maintained that Sabally was informed about the time to leave the hotel for the VP’s hotel.

When the lawyer insisted that the witness did not answer his question, the chief prosecutor, Barkun Saleh informed the judge that Mr Sinyan needed ‘special protection’. “He is being harassed by the lawyer,” he said before the judge told lawyer Gaye to take it easy and ordered Mr Sinyan to answer the question.

Answering, Mr Sinyan said efforts were made at the VP’s hotel to reach Sabally.

The trial continues today.

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