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Monday, April 15, 2024

Sabally’s attorney grills VP’s cameraman

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Antouman Gaye gave the cross-examination after Mr Ousman Keita wrapped up his testimony as the state’s sixth witness during a high court sitting in Banjul presided over by Justice Emmanuel Amadi.

Cross-examining, Gaye reminded Mr Keita on his admission that he was in South Africa to attend two functions. “The first function was the inauguration of Thabo Mbeki Foundation, is that not correct?” he inquired. Replying, Keita said: “Yes that is true and the accused was at the inauguration of Thabo Mbeki Foundation and the second function was the inauguration ceremony of President Jacob Zuma.”

Continuing, the attorney further reminded the witness that he had earlier told the court that when the delegation was to leave Banjul for South Africa, the accused came late to airport. Mr Keita responded to this in the affirmative.

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Gaye asked: “Mr Keita, you also told this court that upon the arrival of the delegation at Gambia airport, the accused said he had an assignment and was waiting for some materials to bring along to South Africa, was that not what you said?” The witness replied: “Yes I did.” 

“Now, that was said by him (accused) to whom, Mr Keita?” the lawyer further pressed. “The accused said this openly to everybody on the plane when he arrived,” the witness responded.

 “So you want the court to believe that the accused went from person to person on the plane to make that statement?” he quizzed further but the state chief prosecutor objected. DPP Barkun contended that the question had to be substantiated with the evidence given by the witness and said the defence was trying to put words into the mouth of the witness. However, the attorney maintained that the objection was bogus and borne out of ignorance to the question. Presiding judge, Emmanuel Amadi in his intervention overruled the objection and asked the witness to answer the question.

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Mr Keita said Mr Sabally did not go from person to person to deliver his statement but instead said it openly when he boarded the aircraft and found everybody seated.

When asked about the response of the vice president to the statement of the accused, the witness said: “I could not know the response of the VP because the moment the accused delivered the statement, he went to greet the VP so I cannot tell the court what the response of the VP was.”

The witness further said he knew that the accused was answerable to the president as the secretary general, head of civil service and minister of presidential affairs but he did not see him at the inauguration ceremony of President Zuma. 

“Are you aware that Ndey Haddy Nyang telephoned the Gambian consular in South Africa about the whereabout   of the accused?” the attorney asked further. The witness replied: “I was not aware of that because her duty and my duty are different.”

When put to him that the accused went to the aircraft late because of two reasons namely, his meeting with the Gambian consular on assignment given to him by the president and heavy traffic, the witness said he was not aware of that.

The case will resume today for the state to present its next witness.


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