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Sunday, October 25, 2020

Sabally trial resumes after 2-month stoppage

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The trial resumed at the Banjul High Court yesterday with the testimony of the state’s second witness, Mr Sulayman Jatta.

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Jatta, who is the alkalo of Bijilo, began his testimony last December but the case has since failed to proceed due to the presiding judge’s engagement at the court martial which ended last week.

Testifying in a crowded courtroom, Jatta said Sabally introduced Assan Ndoye to President Jammeh during a wrestling match at the 22 July Square. He said when Ndoye came back where they were seated, he asked him whether he had informed the president about the vehicles, but Ndoye told him that the president told him that he had been informed but had not seen the vehicles.

This statement compelled the judge, Emmanuel Amadi to ask Jatta whether they discussed this in front of the gathering at the square. When the witness did not reply, the judge beckoned him to continue with his testimony.

Sabally, 40, is on trial on eight charges of two economic crimes, three counts of abuse of office, two counts of neglect of official duty and one count of giving false information. 

Continuing his testimony, Mr Jatta said he went to State House the following day with Ndoye and Sheikh Tijan Bah (first state witness). He said at the State House, he and Mr Bah waited at the reception while the then minister for Tourism and Culture, Fatou Mass Jobe, entered Sabally’s office together with Ndoye. He said it was after Fatou Mass Jobe left that they were called by Sabally to come into his office.

“The accused told us that he had told Ndoye to do something for him but Ndoye told him that he cannot do that in The Gambia. He said he can only do that in Senegal,” Jatta said. 

Asked what Sabally wanted Ndoye to do, Jatta replied: “Assan Ndoye had promised that he could bring African-Americans to attend the Roots festival but he could only do the arrangement in Senegal not in The Gambia.”

He said they then left, after leaving the two vehicles in the custody of Sabally.

According to him, the following day Ndoye went back to State House but this time he went to Fatou Mass Jobe’s office before crossing to Barra to go back to Senegal.

Jatta testified that he used to communicate with Ndoye after he left for Senegal. “But Assan Ndoye complained that he was asked to do a job but neither the accused nor Fatou Mass Jobe was picking up his calls,” he said.

He said after sometime, Ndoye came back to The Gambia for the fourth time but Sabally was no longer the Secretary General and minister for Presidential Affairs. “It was then Assan Ndoye went tp see the Senegalese Ambassador in The Gambia. I and Sheikh Tina were told by Ndoye that we were wanted at the Embassy. When Assan Ndoye explained to the Ambassador about the vehicles, the Ambassador said he could not help because he did not inform the Embassy before bringing the vehicles to The Gambia,” he said.

Under cross-examination Jatta said he made only one statement to the police.

The case resumes on Monday.

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