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Monday, January 18, 2021

Sabally’s lawyer says cars never meant for sale to President

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Antouman Gaye stated this while cross-examining the Alkalo of Bijilo, Mr Sulayman Jatta who during his testimony said the vehicles were in fact meant for sale.

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Gaye said the vehicles were not meant to be sold as the witnesses alleged in their testimonies but as donation to President Jammeh.

“I’m putting it to you that Assan Ndoye brought the vehicles as a donation to the president and not for sale,” Gaye told the witness, Sulayman Jatta. 

Replying, Mr Jatta simply said: “No! He brought the vehicles in order to sell them to the President.”

On being asked if Ndoye had mentioned any price for the vehicles or produced any invoice for the vehicles, Jatta said: “No, he did not. But Assan Ndoye gave Sabally an envelope which contained the proposals.”

However, Jatta admitted that Ndoye did not show him any contract for the sale of the vehicles.

Mr Jatta was further asked why he did not mention at the National Intelligence Agency the name of Fatou Mass Jobe (erstwhile minister of Tourism). 

He said he was not asked by personnel of NIA about Mrs Jobe. “But the last time, you did mention her name in court when nobody asked you?” Gaye further pressed but Jatta replied: “Here I was asked questions step by step unlike at the NIA.”

It is recalled that 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. He is accused of giving false information to President Jammeh that one Assan Ndoye had given him two vehicles with intent to annoy and cause financial loss to Mr Ndoye, information he knew was false, allegations he strongly denies.

Still under cross-examination, the lawyer suggested to the witness that whether it was not strange that none of them know anything about the prices of the vehicles, but the question was overruled before the witness could answer it.

Jatta said he knew Assan Ndoye after he was introduced to him by one Kebba Jallow. This prompted Sabally’s lawyer to asked him if it was Jallow who told him that Ndoye wanted to sell the vehicles to President Jammeh. “Yes,” Jatta replied. “It was Jallow who told me that Assan Ndoye brought the vehicles he wants to sell to the President.”

Under re-examination the chief prosecutor, Barkun Saleh, asked the witness if Jallow was the only person who told him that the vehicles were meant for sale. 

The defence objected to this question.

When the prosecutor insisted on the issue, the judge interrupted that the witness said in his evidence that he was informed by Mr Jallow. “That is the evidence before the court,” Justice Amadi said before the prosecutor withdrew his question. “Would I put my hand in his mouth and bring out the evidence?”

Meanwhile, the third prosecution witness who was among the panel that investigated the case involving Sabally has begun his testimony. 

Modou Sowe, a police attached to Major Crime Unit at police headquarters, said his role was to obtain cautionary and voluntary statements of the accused. The four cautionary and three voluntary statements he obtained from Sabally were admitted in evidence.

The case will resume today following the chief prosecutor’s plea for an adjournment due to the manner at which his witness was giving evidence. However, the defence had objected that the prosecutor cannot have a ‘conference’ with the witness after he had already started giving evidence in court.

The prosecutor insisted that he could but the judge asked him to produce authority that supports such a claim when the case resumes today.

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