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Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Njogu Bah explains how Ms Jobarteh was appointed UN rep

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Mr Bah who is being tried by the state on a charge  of abuse of office was accused of appointing one Jainaba Jobarteh as The Gambia’s representative to the United Nations in New York while serving as the then secretary general and head of civil service without due procedures.  Bah however denied any wrong doing. 

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In his effort to discredit the allegation against him, Mr Bah yesterday spoke on a wide range of issues surrounding Ms Jobarteh’s appointment as well as his duties, responsibilities as the secretary general and head of civil service and the role he played in Ms Jobarteh posting to the UN.

When the case resumed yesterday afternoon, counsel for Mr Bah, Lamin Mboge, applied for the state to serve the witness statement of Mariama Ndure-Njie for the purpose of tendering it as a defence exhibit. It was not objected to by the state counsel, Mansour Njie.

Continuing with his evidence, Bah told the court that he came to know Ms Jobarteh as a civil servant and a staff member at the Foreign Affairs when he travelled with a presidential delegation to Morocco in 2012. He said Ms Jobarteh once served as an interpreter at a programme in the same year during the laying of the foundation block of the new foreign affairs building.

“I could recall receiving a file from the permanent secretary, Dawda Fadera of PMO conveying for the proposal from the foreign affairs for the appointment of Jainaba Jobarteh to our UN mission in New York and Mr Fadera in the minutes supported and sought for my endorsement. I went through the file sent by Mr Fadera and I knew that it has gone through the due procedures as required and as the head of the civil service, it was my duty and responsibility to support any move to enhance the capacities of staffs in the services which is also beneficial to the state. I was mandated as the head of the civil service and secretary general to ensure the smooth running of the civil service and I believed then and now that Jainaba Jobarteh was qualified for the post at the UN mission in New York after going through the file that was before me at the time,” Mr Bah said.

Mr Bah said he believed The Gambian mission in New York needed more staff and a bilingualist like Ms Jobarteh had the experience and held a master’s degree in a related field, conveyed on him.  Mr Bah added that he was optimistic the services to be rendered by Ms Jobarteh would benefit the country and that was the reason he endorsed her appointment and returned back the file to Mr Fadera at PMO. 

“The posting of Ms Jobarteh was a proposal from the Foreign Affairs and that has been the practice in the past and this has even been buttressed by Mr Fadera in his evidence. We have a manual which clearly spelt out the duties and responsibilities of a secretary general,” Mr Bah added.

Meanwhile, the defence further applied to tender the witness statement of Mariama Ndure-Njie as a defence exhibit but it was objected to by the state. The matter was adjourned at that point after both parties made their arguments and citation of relevant law authorities for its admissibility. Hearing resumes on December 23.

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