22 C
City of Banjul
Monday, September 28, 2020

SSHFC boss testifies in Sabally trial

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Mr Sabally, 40, is accused of causing economic loss to SSHFC in the amount of D402,500 by unduly influencing SSHFC to fund the programme without recourse to due process. He pleaded not guilty to the charge.

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Testifying in open courtroom, Mr Edward Graham said he received a call from Mr Sabally last May informing him of a project by one Mariama Sillah. He said Sabally requested that SSHFC assesses the project and see whether it falls within its corporate social investment.

According to Graham, the project fell within the purview of his institution. “After sometime, Mariama Sillah came to the office with the project document. I called the acting director of public relation and the director of finance to listen to the presentation of Mariama Sillah. Mariama made lengthy presentation and questions relating to the project were asked and answered. She was asked to go home and that she will be called again after processing her submission, he said.

However, Graham said he travelled the next day out of country but the team continued the assessment in his absent. He said the team was headed by deputy managing director, Saibatou Faal. He said he was informed by the team that they found the project to be ‘laudable and falls within the corporate social investment’. “However, they found the cost to be on a high side and my deputy called the then SG and informed him about it,” he said.

At this juncture, the project document was tendered as exhibit by the chief prosecutor. Sabally’s lawyer, Antouman Gaye did not object to this.

Asked how the team responded to Mariama’s presentation, Graham replied: “It was a long discussion. Questions were asked and she answered them. We asked her to go and that she will be communicated to.”

According to Graham, Mariama Sillah was called again to their office after due discussions. He said the amount applied for was reduced to 23 percent and his deputy approved the amount to be paid to Mariama. “The director of finance drew a cheque and sent it to mariama Sillah. It was copied to the Office of the President and relevant files.

When the prosecutor asked him who directed the request from the Office of the President, Graham replied that it was Sabally.

Under cross-examination, Graham admitted that Sabally dealt with him in his capacity as the then SG. Graham also admitted that part of his corporation’s function was to invest in youth development.

“While Mariama Sillah was presenting, you did not dismiss her,” Gaye further asked and Graham replied, “No.”

The question whether the team could have rejected Mariama’s submission was challenged by the prosecutor but he was overruled by the presiding judge, Emmanuel Amadi.

Answering, Graham said the team could have rejected it if it was not deem fit to them. He also admitted that Mariama was given 402, 500 dalasis.

Trial continues today.

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