Wednesday, August 24, 2011

University Vice Chancellor Receives D3.5m Per Annum Excluding…

Gumbo Touray
Lamin J Gassama, the second prosecution witness in the false information trial involving Dr Gumbo Touray, a lecturer at The University of The Gambia (UTG) on Tuesday said, UTG vice chancellor receives D3.5 million annually, excluding rent and other expenses.
Vice chancellor professor Mohammed Kah’s pay, according to Mr Gassama, an anti drug officer was revealed following an investigation which was mounted by state when Dr Touray alleged Kah of giving preferential treatment to blood relations at the country’s highest learning institution.
Dr Gumbo Touray is facing trail at the magistrates’ court in Banjul for allegedly lying to the Office of the President that Kah appoints his relatives in key positions at the University. He however pleaded not guilty.
 Testifying before Magistrate Ade Taiwo  Alagbe of the  Banjul Magistrates’ Court, the witness said that issues raised by the accused person are that the salary of the vice chancellor and other benefits that he enjoys are high and not in the interest of the University.
Gassama further testified that they have mounted an investigation upon receiving a directive from the president’s office to look into allegations contained in Mr Touray’s petition.  
He added: “during the course of the investigation it was revealed that vice chancellor Kah receives 3.5 million dalasis per annum excluding an annual rent of $10, 000.00, school fees of his children, salaries of his maids, security, electricity and water.”

Who Is Telling The Truth: Editor Jobe or You Nanama’s lawyer grills Editor Sallah

editor Sallah
Mr Assan Sallah, news editor of The Daily Observer newspaper was offered to referee which one is the truth: his side of the story or the dissimilar version of his immediate boss, Mr Alagie Jobe, the deputy editor- in- chief. And he decided in his favour, but did not make mention of his boss.’
The young editor, who doubles as the president of young journalists in The Gambia was giving testimony on Tuesday against fired co-worker, Mr Nanama Keita, who is facing false information trial at the magistrates’ court in Banjul.
The former deputy editor and head of sports desk of the pro-government newspaper is alleged to have presented false information by claiming wrongful termination of his engagement when he petitioned The Daily Observer Company to the Office of the President.
 Editor Keita however denied any wrongdoing.
“Between Jobe and yourself who is telling the truth,” his lawyer Neneh Cham-Chongan questioned Mr Sallah when he said that Nanama was present at a meeting that was prompted by a publication on Freedom, a Gambian online newspaper based in U.S,  which alleges financial malpractices by Mr Pa Malick Faye, the managing director.
“I am telling the truth,” responded Mr Sallah, who appeared as state witness no.2 and his testimony came after that of his boss,’ Mr Jobe, the prime state witness.
“I put it you that you are not telling the truth because Alagie Jobe had said that my client was never invited at the first meeting,” defense lawyer Neneh Cham charged, but Mr Sallah declined to give in.
Sallah said, he was present when a search was being conducted to find out who fed Freedom Newspaper. He denied that, Mr Keita was asked to sign in into his personal account. This, according to lawyer Cham is a distinct account with that of Alagie Jobe’s.
 “Would you be surprised that Alagie Jobe told the court that the accused had logged in and his e-mail account was searched thoroughly, but nothing was found about Freedom newspaper,” the defense lawyer enquired.
“No,” replied Mr Sallah, who went further to deny that Mr Keita former office, was opened when the Observer office complex was being refurbished.
“Your statement,” lawyer Cham put to him, “oh! Freedom oh! Sherriff Bojang’ is a complete fabrication and my client was never given the Quran to swear.” Mr Sallah however, maintained his point.
On whether or not Nanama was a deputy editor- in- chief of the company, Mr Sallah said, “Not to my knowledge.”
“Are you telling this court that your managing director was lying when he says in the attestation that the accused was the deputy editor-in-chief,” Neneh asked further and Sallah replied: “No.”
Neneh went on: “And did anybody hold that position without you knowing.” Assan replied: “No.”
The trial resumes August 31, 2011.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

‘Violence Against Women Poses Serious Threat to Achieving MDGs’

FLAG president Janeh Sallah-Njie
The continues violence against women is posing a serious threat to The Gambia’s efforts to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), said Gambia’s minister for Basic and Secondary Education.
Minister Fatou Lamin Faye made this observation on Thursday at a day-long training of trainers programme for 50 Gambian teachers on women right issues, including laws that protect the rights of women in Gambia.
Held at Paradise Suites Hotel under the theme: “Ending Violence in Society with Special Focus on Women and Girls,” the programme was organised by the  Female Lawyers Association of The Gambia (FLAG).
“One in three women is beaten, coerced into sex. And one in five women will be victim of rape or attempted rape in her lifetime,” said Minister Faye. “Half of women who die from homicides are killed by their current or former husbands or partners. For women age 15 to 44 years, violence is a major cause of death and disability.”
She said, violence against women does not only constitute gross violation of human rights but also has enormous social and economic and cost. It also undercuts the contribution of women to development, peace and security.
“Violence against women is the most pervasive yet least recognised human rights abuse in the world,” said Janeh Sallah-Njie, the president of FLAG.
A revered legal practitioner, Madam Sallah-Njie said, despite the enactment of the Women’s Act 2010, The Gambia’s legal system does not adequately cater for victims of abuse to seek redress.
Speaking on behalf of The Gambia Teachers Union (GTU), Marie Antoinette Corr highlighted that violence against women deprived many girls of right to education.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Prison Boss Named in another Scandal

David Colley
The Gambia’s director general of prisons, David Colley has been named in yet another prison scandal; this time accused of accepting a bank cheque from a treason convict whose whereabouts has been a subject of controversy.
“I witnessed Yusuf Ezzedeen hand over a Trust Bank cheque to David Colley,” Mr Lamin Jarju, an ex-convict told the magistrates’ court in Banjul on Monday as he testified in the criminal trial involving four prison officers.
A Gambian Lebanese national, Yusuf Ezzedeen alias Rambo was condemned to death for attempted coup last year alongside former defence chief Lang Tombong and six others, whose appeal at Appeal Court had been refused whilst Yusuf remains unseen in court for over four consecutive sittings.
Unconfirmed newspaper reports have it that the Lebanese has already reunited with his family in Lebanon after paying out his freedom.
And fresh allegations adduced by Mr Jarju, an ex-convict who claimed to have been David Colley’s cleaner during the five years he spent in jail are that Yusuf had handed-over a bank cheque to prisons boss and that the said cheque was cashed by Bakary Wharf Kujabi, a wanted prison officer.
Mr Jarju also revealed that David Colley gave him a charm for onward delivery to Ensa Badjie, former police chief, now a lifer.
He said, he knows Lang Tombong Tamba, ex-Chief of Defense Staff of The Gambia Armed Forces, now a death row convict and one Sainey Tamba.
“On each occasion that when Sainey brought food, he used to give me D1, 500.00. The D1, 000.00 for David Colley and D500 for me,” he said.
He revealed that the 1st accused person, Abdoulie Bojang one day gave him two Nokia mobile phones to give it to Lang Tombong Tamba and one Batch Faye at the security wing.
The Director of Public Prosecution, Abdoulie Mikalive at this juncture tendered the phones for evidence purpose.
Meanwhile, the four accused persons: Abdoulie Bojang, Solo Manga, Buba Badjie and Bakary Jammeh all pleaded not guilty to charges of corruption, destroying evidence, granting unauthorised communication to prisoners and introducing prohibited articles in prison
The case resumes August 24, 2011.

No Author on Freedom Publication But…

Nanama Keita
Although the article on alleged financial malpractices at The Daily Observer Company, which was published on FREEDOM newspaper bears no name, The Daily Observer newspaper’s deputy editor in chief insisted that Mr Nanama Keita, a former deputy editor in chief and sports editor is the author.
“If you read the article you will know who wrote it,” Alagie Jobe responded to Keita’s lawyer’s query, but he confirmed that there was no name on the said article.
Mr Nanama Keita is alleged to have presented false information to a public officer when he petitioned pro-government Daily Observer’s managing director to the president’s office on allegations of financial malpractices at the company, following what he terms as wrongful termination of his services. He denied wrongdoing.
 “It is correct that you don’t have any personal knowledge as  to who provided the information to FREEDOM,” lawyer Neneh Cham quizzed.
Editor Jobe however said, he has no personal knowledge. He affirmed that it was as a result of the petition that the police and anti-drug agency mounted an investigation into the matter.
Alagie Jobe denied receiving any response from the office of the president directing the matter be investigated.
Editor Jobe also rebuffed that the accused came to the office on several occasions to discuss and to resolve the matter.
“He came to beg the Managing Director to forget the past. He even begged me,” Jobe said, but the lawyer argued that that statement is untrue.
Jobe also affirmed that the accused was not invited to the meeting they held subsequently after the article was published on the freedom newspaper.
 When asked if the accused person was a member of the senior management team of The Daily Observer, Jobe replied that there is no senior management team.
 “I am the only one representing the editorial team at the management level,” he added.
The case will resume Monday 22, August 2011.

Dodou Sanneh’s Counsel Wants Case to Start Over

Lawyer Touray
The counsel for the fired state-owned television reporter has filed an appeal at the High Court in Banjul for a re-start of the false information trial against his client, journalist Dodou Sanneh.
Borry Touray who took over the case two weeks ago made this announcement on Monday when the case resumed at Banjul Magistrates' Court.
Mr Sanneh is accused of giving false information to a public officer that his engagement was wrongfully terminated when he petitioned GRTS to the Office of the President. He denied the charge.
Sanneh was expected to open his defence after the magistrate ruled against his lawyer’s request to free him.
The prosecution lawyer, who stated that he is satisfied with the evidence against the accused person after calling three witnesses - a police officer and two GRTS staff - is expected to file an affidavit on the motion which will be argued on the next sitting.
The case resumes 18 August, 2011.
 It could be recalled that Dodou Sanneh, a former reporter with  GRTS was sacked on 8 September 2006, while covering the presidential campaign of the opposition United Democratic Party (UDP). He was reinstated within a week, given 20 days work leave only to be sacked again on 20 November 2006  

Bar Association Meeting Defers GAMCOTRAP Officials’ Trial

Dr Isatou Touray
The trial involving two officials of GAMCOTRAP, a prominent Gambian non-governmental organisation that advocates for the elimination of harmful traditional practices yesterday failed to proceed due to a Gambia Bar Association meeting.
The accused persons Dr. Isatou Touray and Amie Bojang-Sissoho were in court together with one of the counsel, Lamin Mboge who urged the court to adjourn the matter.
 “As I am speaking the meeting is in progress and I urge the court to adjourn the matter,” he pleaded.
“I was informed,” said the magistrate before adjourning the matter to August 25, 2011.
It could be recalled that the two top Gamcotrap officials are accused of stealing €30, 000.00 provided to them by YALOCAMBA SOLIDARIDAD, a Spain-based NGO.
However, eight months into the trial, Dr Touray and Mrs Bojang-Sissoho have maintained their innocence, though eight state witnesses, including the director of YALOCAMBA SOLIDARIDAD had testified.

Interior Minister Was Aware of The Torture

Interior Minister Sonko
Former operations commander of the National Drug Enforcement Agency (NDEA), Mr Ousman Sanneh has said that the minister of Interior Ousman Sonko was aware of the torture meted out on two anti-drug officers by four personnel of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) in 2009.
“Minister Sonko was aware of the torture because Ebrima Bun Sanneh reported the matter to him,” Sanneh said while testifying in the torture case involving the four NIA operatives.
The trial which is underway at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court involves Lamin Darboe, Ebrima Drammeh, Edrissa Jobe and Omar Jammeh.
They are alleged to have caused grievous bodily harm to Lamin Kabou and Lamin Sima by beating them with fist blows, electric cables and metals at the NIA headquarters in Banjul. All accused persons denied the charges.
Sanneh’s statement according to the accused person’s lawyer was a bit in conflict with the former NDEA boss, Bun Sanneh who had told the court that the matter was not reported to Minister Sonko. But the witness maintained that what he had said the truth.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Ex-Police Chief Gets Life Sentence for Robbery

Jailed police chief, Ensa Badjie

Even as two other criminal trials hang over his head, The Gambia’s former hardliner police chief was Friday sentenced to life imprison for a myriad of wrongdoings, including robbery.
Ex Inspector General of Police (IGP) Ensa Badjie has been also found wanton of aiding the escape of a condemned robbery gang leader from lawful custody and received stolen properties.
Badjie was also found guilty of interfering and deceiving witnesses to an unstated criminal venture, together with Ali Ceesay, a prison officer who has been ordered either to pay a D30, 000.00 fine or risk a three-year jail term.
The former law enforcement officers, now law breakers had denied the charges, even after several witnesses to their condemned conducts affirmed the accusations.
“Although Soriba Condeh is a criminal, the evidence he gave is credible,” Justice Ikpala of Special Criminal Court said, referring to the incriminating revelations by inmate Soriba Condeh, who confessed being the leader of robbery gang, whose robbery operations were masterminded by the former police chief.
Following his appointment, Ensa Badjie was hailed by Gambian president Yahya Jammeh as best police IG ever, despite the rising crime, especially murder and robbery during his tenure.