Gold dust case resumes

Friday, September 19, 2008
Doudou Manneh, a resident of Bakau, opened his defence before Presiding Magistrate BO Jobe of the Bundung Magistrates Court, recently. The accused, Doudou Manneh, had been charged for stealing. According to the particulars of the offence, on 5th November, 2006, at Fajara Hotel, the accused was given a suitcase containing 133kg of gold dust, valued at US$1,596,000, by his brother, Faramang Manneh. This, it was revealed, was the property of Afin Gold Gambia Limited. He (the accused) had failed to deliver the suitcase at the Banjul International Airport, but eventually reported it lost.

Mr Doudou Manneh has so far pleaded not guilty.
When he opened his defence recently, the accused said his brother, Faramang Manneh, who was supposed to return to Europe, had called and asked him to transport his suitcases. He said that when he went to pick the suitcases, the brother told him to take care of them and that he should not give them to anybody. “I said okay,” the accused told the court.

He further explained that the brother told him that he would find Mansea Beach Hotel on his way where he would meet his (brother’s) friend called Momodu Jabbi. Doudou actually met Momodou Jabbi who enquired about his brother, Faramang Manneh. He told him that Faramang was on his way coming.” He then said that Jabbi (the brother’s friend) gave him (Doudou) one suitcase and a passport.

“I drove to the airport directly where, when I arrived the airport, I bought two tickets for my brother and his friend. And after the checking, the duo arrived. I gave them the passport and they left,” the accused explained to the court.

But in the morning of the second day when the brother had arrived Europe, the accused said that the brother called him, and on the phone said to him he did not see one of the suitcases. The brother of the accused eventually returned to The Gambia. Their effort to relocate the lost suitcase took the search party to the airport, where they were instructed to submit a claim with the airline that had airlifted them to Europe.

During his cross examination, the prosecutor asked whether it was true that he had received a suitcase containing 133kg of gold dust, value at US$1,596,000. The accused said he did not receive the suitcase. The prosecutor further asked: “did you not tell the court that you received two suitcases from your brother, Faramang, and that he had strictly told you that one of it contained gold dust? Where did you take them to.” And the accused answered: “yes, I told the court. I took the two suitcases to the airport.”
He said that since his brother had instructed him to do the booking and checking for them, he did not bother to wait for them.

Furtherance to his cross-examination, the prosecutor asked if during the checking and booking the suitcase contains the gold dust was among the suitcases. He answered positively that it was part of them and that they all had tag numbers. These tag numbers, he said, were attached to the passport. He said that the tag numbers represent the receipts.
The prosecutor therefore put it to him that: “the suitcase containing the gold dust was not among the suitcases you booked?” But the accused replied that it was among.

Finally, Inspector Saine, the prosecutor, put it to him again that: “you stole the said suitcase.” I did not steal the suitcase,” the accused answered.

The Magistrate asked him again if there was any witness that he would like to call, but he said he had no witness. The case was then adjourned to 14 October, 2008, for judgment.

Author: by Yunus S Saliu