Alleged diamond dealer charged for tax evasion

Thursday, October 9, 2008

One Abubakar Tunkara was on Tuesday arraigned before Principal Magistrate Kumba Sillah-Camara of the Bundung Magistrates Court, charged with tax evasion.

According to the particulars of the case, Abubakar Tunkara was charged with intent to defraud the government of The Gambia of duties due when he knowingly concealed 44 stones of diamond valued at US$1150 at the port of entry into The Gambia.

According to Detective Corporal 1853 Saikou Njie of Old Yundum Police Station, on 31 August 2008 between 1800 to 1900 hours, whilst at one bar & restaurant along Tabani Highway in Kololi, he overheard the accused person and others discussing diamonds. He added that there was a middleman translating their discussion into Arabic. In their discussion, according to the police detective, the accused and his accomplices arranged to meet at Rasta Garden in Kololi where the transaction was supposed to take place. The detective further said that he heard the accused, Tunkara Abubakar saying: “It is a good diamond.”

The witness further told the court that he quickly called for re-enforcements in order to arrest them. Upon the arrival of the re-enforcement officers, they met the accused person, and three other men in a room at a guest house near the Rasta Garden. “In the room we found some pieces of diamond wrapped up in white paper and placed on the table,” he said.

According to him, the accused person confirmed at the police station that he did not possess a license to sell diamonds. Cadet Inspector Keita produced the diamonds in the court and the accused person confirmed that they were the ones in question.

44 pieces were counted and marked as Exhibit A. Mr ABS Janneh, counsel for the accused, asked if the detective was a diamond specialist and how asked how he knew that what he saw were diamonds.  “I knew they were diamonds because I have once seen a diamond and the accused confirmed it,” he replied. 

The lawyer further put it to detective that the stones he presented to the court were not the same stones found in the guest house. The witness replied that they were the very stones.

The case was adjourned to October 14, for PW2 to testify.

Author: by Yunus S. Saliu & Musa Ndow