KMC mayor testifies in court

Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Yankuba Colley, the mayor of the Kanifing Municipal Council (KMC), yesterday appeared before Magistrate Lamin George of the Banjul Magistrates Court, where he gave evidence in the ongoing theft case involving Oley Sey, a former nominated member of the National Assembly, and Abdourahman Bah, the coordinator of James Junkung Jammeh Memorial School.

At the court, Mayor Colley recalled receiving a telephone call from Mrs Fatou Lamin Faye, the secretary of state for Basic and Secondary Education, to attend the presentation of D500,000 in her office as a gift from President Jammeh to the nursery school. Mayor Colley informed the court that Hon Fabakary Tombong Jatta, Alhaji Boto Tamba, the Alkalo of Abuko, Sali Sidibeh-Suso, the ward councillor, Abdourahman Bah, the second accused person, and Oley Sey were among those present during the presentation ceremony, as well as the GRTS crew.

The KMC mayor revealed that it was SoS Lamin Faye who handed over the D500,000 cash to him as the mayor of KMC and he in turn handed over the sum to Hon Jatta, who finally gave the money to the second accused, Abdourahman Bah, with the advice that the money be banked and a receipt obtained for onward transmission to the president.

According to Yankuba Colley, shortly after the presentation, the two accused persons left on the pretext that they were going to show the money to the chief of protocol.

“That was the last time I set my eyes on Abdourahman Bah until a week or two later, when I received queries from the community of Abuko, which prompted me to call Abdourahman Bah to my office [and he] said the money was in safe hands,” the mayor recalled.

Continuing his testimony, the mayor said Oley Sey denied knowledge of the money and said that Abdourahman Bah did not explain to her whether the money was meant for the community of Abuko or a private purpose. He informed the court that Oley Sey requested for a meeting to be held between her and people of Abuko, which was said to have been convened on August 7. He added that the people concerned were called to the office of the SoS for Basic and Secondary Education, where the two accused persons confessed that the money was with them after a heated discussion between themselves and the people present.

At the meeting, the mayor recalled that Abdourahman Bah claimed that D400,000 was with Oley Sey, whilst D100,000 was with him, but he had already spent D20,000.
The mayor concluded that a security personnel from State House later came to collect the two accused persons from the office of the SoS for Basic and Secondary Education and that he was called to give a statement and was later summoned to appear in court as a witness.

Responding to a question during cross-examination by the defence counsel, Lamin Camara, Mayor Colley maintained that he handed over the money to Abdourahman Bah and did not know what transpired between the two accused persons later on.

Both Oley Sey and her co-accused have been granted court bail in the sum of D300,000 with two Gambian sureties and on the condition that the two accused appear in court on every adjourned date of the case, failure of which will amount to total rescinding of their bail conditions.  

Magistrate Lamin George gave this statement after submissions and counter-submissions by both the prosecution and defence counsel.

Lawyer Camara informed the court that he intends to rely on the motion which supported an affidavit sworn to and alluded to Section 99(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) and paragraphs 5-13 of the affidavit attached to the motion to back his submission.

“My lord, the accused, Oley Sey, is entitled to a bail, as the offence charged is a bailable offence. What appeared in court shows that the prosecution is ready to proceed with the case. It shows that the police have completely finished their investigations into the case, because witnesses have started testifying or giving evidence on the case. So my client can be granted bail.  A court bail is not a right, it’s left to the discretion of the court and I urge the court to grant bail,” the defence submitted.

But Inspector Keita again objected to the bail application on the ground that investigations into the case are far from over. He noted that investigations into the case led the police to a series of complains against the accused persons, such as a false cheque issued by the accused person.

Responding to the prosecution, Lawyer Camara said the issuance of a false a cheque is not the matter before the court. “The issue before the court is the conspiracy and theft, so the police have the right to bring in additional charges against the accused,” Lawyer Camara argued.

Magistrate George ruled that the issue of issuing a fake cheque was not the matter before the court and therefore the court granted bail to the two accused persons, each in the sum of D300,000 with two Gambian sureties and to always appear in court on every adjourned date. The case was adjourned to September 4 for continuation of the proceedings.

Author: by Sanna Jawara