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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

VP’s cameraman testifies in Sabally trial

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Ousman Keita said the Vice President’s delegation was supposed to leave The Gambia on May 22 2014 at 12pm but it had to wait for Momodou Sabally for one and a half hour.

“We waited for the former SG up till 1:30pm. When he arrived, he said he was having some assignment and was also waiting for some materials to take along to South Africa,” Keita who was testifying as the state’s sixth witness said.

According Mr Keita, Sabally attended the inauguration of the Thabo Mbeki Foundation in Victoria, a day after their arrival in South Africa.  

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He said the delegation returned to Johannesburg but the VP’s protocol officer (Musa Sinyan) asked him to accompany him back to Victoria for accreditation cards for the delegation to be able to attend President Jacob Zuma’s inauguration. “When we came back to the hotel in Johannesburg, we found Sabally sitting at the lobby and Musa Sinyan informed him that VP will leave for Banjul immediately after the function. But Sabally told him that he had some assignments to do in South Africa and cannot leave immediately after the function,” he added.

Keita said Sinyan went further to informed Sabally that they should leave for VP’s hotel at 7am for President Zuma’s inauguration. He said this information was given around 3am.

On the following day, Keita said he left for VP’s hotel together with Musa Sinyan at 6:45 in the morning where they found the delegation waiting for them.

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He further said: “The VP asked the protocol officer (Musa sinyan) whether everybody was on board but he said he did not see Momodou Sabally. He told VP that he had informed everybody that they should leave the hotel at 7am.” He added that he saw all the members of the delegates when he reached the venue of the inauguration except Sabally.

He said when he went back to the hotel after the inauguration, the state guard commander, Lt Col Tamba asked him to go to the hotel where the pilot was staying and find out the time of departure. However, he said Musa Sinyan called him that he had communicated to the pilot and asked him (Keita) to rush to VP’s hotel to pack the luggage.

Keita further said the VP and the rest of the delegates went to the airport and boarded the aircraft. “The pilot came from the cabin and asked Mr Sinyan if they can take off but Sinyan told him that we were waiting for somebody. That somebody is Momodou Sabally,” he said adding that Sabally came after 40 minutes.

At this point, the chief prosecutor, Barkun Saleh asked the witness: “You told this court that you left the hotel at 6:45 whilst Musa Sinyan said you left at 7:am. How do you reconcile it?”

This question was objected by Sabally’s lawyer, Antouman Gaye but was overruled by the judge who asked Keita to answer the question.

Keita however, made a U-turn and said they left the hotel at 7am. “He (Musa Sinyan) was having a watch and I had no watch,” he added.


Court declines to hear trial in closed-door

Meanwhile, presiding judge, Emmanuel Amadi had earlier declined to hear Momodou Sabally’s case in camera. It came on Wednesday after the chief prosecutor Barkun Saleh said his next witness’ identity could not be revealed in court for ‘security reasons’. Saleh said he wanted the case to be held in Camera.

However, the judge ruled that there was no ‘sufficient’ reason to have the case behind closed-door after Sabally’s lawyer, Antouman Gaye argued that security reason did not implied in the case since he had the list of the witnesses. Trial will continue April 28.


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