Sohm Alkalo Stands Accused as Seven Others Face Tribunal

Friday, April 11, 2008
The Alkalo of Sohm, Momodou Jarju, is alleged to have connived with seven other people in felling trees and burning them into charcoal in the Kombo East forest. The seven others, identified as Lamin Touray, Samba Touray, Ousman Touray, Alieu Touray, Abdourahman Jallow, Ebrima Barry and Salifu Mballow, were all arraigned yesterday at the Kombo East District Tribunal and charged with various offences under the forestry act. All but one of the accused persons, Lamin Touray, pleaded guilty to the charge.

In giving their evidence before the district tribunal, two of the accused persons, Samba Touray and Alieu Mballow, told the court that it was the Alkalo who permitted them to cut down trees and burn charcoal. They claimed that the Alkalo told them that he was the one responsible for the area stretching from Kombo East to Kanlagi.

The two accused persons further testified that the Alkalo charged them D1500 initially but later agreed on D1200. They also alleged that the Alkalo also received D2000 from Samba Touray and D1700 from Alieu Mballow.

According to the two, the Alkalo told them that the money would be shared among three of them, himself, the Chief of Kombo East, and the Governor.

The accused also alleged that they have been conniving with the Alkalo for the past two years, but that due to their failure to pay up the Alkalo made frequents demand for the balance of the money due to him before reporting the case to the forestry department.

During cross-examination of the accused, the Alkalo of Sohm, denied the allegations.

Before delivering his ruling, the Chief denied receiving any money from the Alkalo.

The accused were fined between D3,000 and D15,000 before being later granted bail. Meanwhile the Alkalo is expected to appear before the court at a later date.

When contacted about the allegation, the Governor of Western Region declined to comment, saying he had not been notified officially about the issue. He also denied the allegation.

Author: By Abdoulie Nyokeh