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City of Banjul
Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Njogu Bah says his office abused him, not the other way round

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“I worked from 8am to 10pm and I have no social life. I had no time with my children, friends and my family as I worked even on Saturdays. The president has good intentions for the country and he should be complimented for his efforts in the development of the nation and as such I am ready to sacrifice my time just for the development of the country,” Mr Bah said.

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Mr Bah who is being tried on a charge of abuse of office made the statement as he opened his defence yesterday afternoon before Magistrate Dawda Jallow. He is accused by prosecutors of appointing one Ms Jainaba Jobarteh as The Gambia’s representative to the United Nations in New York without following the right procedures. He denied the charge.

When the case came up yesterday, Mr Bah began his testimony by giving his full name and address to the court noting that he was residing at Busumbala prior to his arrest and detention at the state maximum prison at Mile 2. He also gave brief details about his return to The Gambia, educational backgrounds, qualifications and the various prominent positions he occupied as well as the degrees he acquired. 

 “I have my PhD in public administration in 2004 from Rockville University in USA. I also have my first degree in linguistics at Sheikh Ahmed University in Morocco. After having my PhD in 2004 prior to my return to The Gambia, I worked as a manager at a food chain. I came to The Gambia in May 2005 from USA following President Jammeh’s visit to the USA. By then I was the chairman of the APRC Atlanta chapter. I remember a meeting was held with the Gambians in Washington and I happened to deliver a statement and after delivering my statement I greeted the president and he asked me what my plan was. The president asked me whether I would prefer to stay in the US or to join him in nation-building. I told the president I am ready to serve my nation rather than stay in the US. The president was happy and later I received communication from the president’s office. Three months after the president’s return to The Gambia, I received a letter from Marcel Thomasi who was then the director of press and public affairs reminding me about the conversation I alluded to. I then prepared to return to The Gambia finally to answer to the call of the president towards the development of the country,” Mr Bah told the hushed courtroom.

Continuing with his evidenc- in-chief, Mr Bah recalled that upon his return to The Gambia he went to the office of the PMO and he was received by then permanent secretary, Yusupha Dibba and interviewed at the Public Service Commission, later he received an appointment letter as senior assistant secretary before he was moved to foreign affairs and Office of the President.

“It was through hard work, dedication and sacrifice I was promoted as principal assistant secretary, then deputy permanent secretary, then permanent secretary No 2, then permanent secretary No 1, then secretary to the cabinet until finally I was appointed as secretary general and head of civil service which I served on four occasions starting from 2010 and at some points I was appointed minister. I served as the minister of trade, integration and employment, minister of works communication and infrastructure, minister of presidential affairs and briefly as petroleum minister. I believed I had the trust and confidence of the president to serve at these various positions,” Mr Bah further expounded. 

When asked by his lawyer, Lamin Mboge, to tell the court how he earned the trust and confidence of the president to serve in those positions within a short period of three years, the state lawyer objected, saying the defence was trying to test the opinion of Mr Bah. But Mboge insisted that his question was germane to the case.  However, the presiding magistrate asked him to reframe his question which he did. 

When asked by his lawyer whether he had ever abused his office and what was his reaction to the charge against him, Mr Bah responded: “I have never ever abused my office; it is my office that abused me.  I had no social life, I had no time with my children, friends and family I have denied this allegation since the day I was confronted at the National Intelligence Agency and even still now I deny the allegation.” 

At that point, Magistrate Jallow adjourned hearing to December 17.


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