24 C
City of Banjul
Monday, September 21, 2020

Njogu Bah rebuts PS Dibba

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He said contrary to what Dibba earlier told the Banjul Magistrates Court in his testimony as prosecution witness, he never called Mr Dibba regarding the posting of Jainaba Jobarteh as the Gambia’s representative to the United Nations in New York. 

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Bah, who was also the minister for Presidential Affairs is being tried on a single charge of abuse of office. Prosecutors accused him of using his influence as secretary general and head of civil service to post Ms Jainaba Jobarteh as The Gambia’s representative to the United Nations without due procedures. He denied any wrongdoing. 

Continuing his defence yesterday, he postulated: “I totally disagree with the evidence of Yuspha Dibba, [then] PS Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the highest degree. I had clarified at the National Intelligence Agency when the case was under investigation that I never ever called Mr Dibba for the posting of Ms Jobarteh and I have said it again in this court. I did not have to call Mr Dibba and needed not to call him. Let me inform this honorable court that the posting, termination, redeployment and movement never work like that and no third party is involved regarding these points I have mentioned. 

“May I also inform this court that the PMO is directly under the office of the secretary general at the Office of the President. When you go to the ministries, you find permanent secretaries as the technical advisers to the minister. The permanent secretary at PMO is the personal permanent secretary of the civil service. I have my own PS who is my technical adviser on civil service matters. Why would I call another PS to send to my own PS  something for which I could have called and instructed him? Why would I involve a third party? It does not make sense.”

Mr Bah, who is being represented by Lawyer Lamin K. Mboge went on: “The relationship between the office of the secretary general and PMO is strictly confidential as well as their files and letters. For there to be any posting, they would write to the permanent secretary at the Personnel Management Office to seek the concurrence of Public Service Commission before the posting and implementation of the directives. After, a file would be prepared and sent to the PS, office of the secretary general, conveying a proposal with our support and observation to see the endorsement or otherwise of the secretary general. 

In his riposte to the evidence of Dawda Fadera, permanent secretary at PMO, Bah noted: “Mr Fadera happened to be a prosecution witness and he explained the procedures governing the posting. Mr Fadera sent a file to me as secretary general, conveying minutes from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I believed Mr Fadera is a professional and well-experienced man who took his work seriously and he knew then the offices of the PMO had done their duties and sent a file to me for endorsement of the posting of Ms Jobarteh. I was convinced with the content of the minutes and I believed that it would help the Gambian Mission which was handicapped in terms of staff. As the secretary general and head of civil service I was mandated to ensure the smooth running of civil service and to ensure that there is adequate and well-experienced staff in the civil service as well as our Mission which is very important as the Gambia needed to be fully represented. So I endorsed the file and returned it to the PMO with approval”. 

The matter was then adjourned to January 13 for continuation of defence. 

Meanwhile, the defence’s application to submit the manual for the terms and references of the secretary general and the witness statement of Mariama Ndure-Njie, permanent secretary no.2 Ministry of Foreign Affairs was dismissed. 

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