By Rohey Jadama Mr. Demba Jallow, a Businessman at Farouk Trading, yesterday 16th June testified as first prosecution witness (PW1) in the trial involving Pa Malick Ceesay, the erstwhile National Assembly Member for Lower Saloum Constituency and former Coordinator of NationalEnterprise Development Initiative (NEDI), and Ismaila Njie, the former Accountant of NEDI. The state was represented by the Director of Public Prosecutions and the accused persons were represented by Counsel Edward A. Gomez. PW1 told the court that he is a business man and that he lives in Farato and that he deals in food stuffs at Farouk Trading. He said he recognised the accused persons. Continuing his testimony, Mr. Jallow told the court that sometime in 2009 he met with the NEDI officials. He said Pa Malick Ceesay told him that they have a project which will be investing in petty trading and that they asked him the prices of the goods. He said after sometime the accused persons came to him again and told him that they were interested in buying from him. PW1 adduced that himself, Ceesay and Njie listed the items that they were interested in and that the accused persons provided their own trucks to take the goods. He said after loading the goods, he told them to pay him and that he was told that the 2nd accused person will come and pay him. Mr. Jallow told the court that he was later paid an amount of 1.5 million dalasi when what he supplied them was over 2 million dalasi. He said he supplied them for the second time and was paid six-hundred thousand (600,000) leaving a balance of D45, 000 which they should repay him. “Before the end of 2014, I was called by the Serious Crime Unit to write a statement and I even regretted why I did business with them,” said the witness. PW1 told the court that every now and then he receives call from the police asking him to go and answer. He said Mr. Njie (the second accused) is the one who was normally doing the payments. The witness further told the court that his understanding was that Mr. Ceesay is the head of NEDI and that Mr. Njie is the one who issues the cheques. He said when he told the police that he still has not received all the money owed to him, he was asked by them to write and request for D45, 000 balance owed to him and to submit it to them. He told the court that after sometime he was eventually paid his money. Under cross-examination by defence counsel Gomez, the witness was asked whether his business is registered and he responded in the positive. He was asked whether he told the court that he made two supplies to the accused persons. The witness responded in the affirmative. “The supplies, were they made with invoices and do the accused persons signed them?” enquired the defence counsel. “I cannot remember,” responded the witness. “As a prudent businessman, you will keep records of your business transactions. Do you have the records of the transactions that transpired between you and the accused?” asked counsel Gomez. “Yes” said the witness. When asked who signed it, the witness said he does not know, adding “the only thing I know is what I signed.” “Are you telling the court that you don’t know if any of them signed it?” asked counsel Gomez. “I don’t know,” responded the witness. “Would it have been normal for them to sign it?”, quizzed Lawyer Gomez. The witness responded in the positive. The witness was asked to tell the court why the documents were not signed and that whether the two accused persons signed it. “I can’t remember,” said the witness. When asked whether he has the copies of those documents and whether he will be able to produce them, the witness responded in the positive. The said document was produced by the DPP and the witness was asked to take a look at it by the defence. Counsel Gomez told the court that he wishes to tender it in court as an exhibit. However, there was no objection from the DPP. It was therefore admitted and marked as defence exhibit A. “Mr. Jallow, you told this court that the invoice was signed by you?” asked counsel Gomez. “Yes,” replied the witness. “Take a look at it and indicate where your signature is?” “There is no signature. “ “In order words you did not sign?” enquired Gomez. The witness responded in the positive. The witness was asked to whom was the invoice addressed to. “To the NEDI Director General,” he responded. When asked whether he provided the accused persons with a copy, he responded in the positive. “I’m right to say that those trucks were driven by the military?,” ask the defence counsel. “I don’t know, but the trucks were under the instruction of the accused,” responded the witness. The witness was asked to tell the court whether the cheques that were paid for the business have signatures on them. “I don’t know”, responded the witness. The witness was further asked whether there were only two transactions between him and the accused persons and he responded in the positive. “The only regret you had was the balance of D45, 000 and the numerous phone calls from the police?” asked the defence counsel. “Yes,” replied the witness. At this juncture, the case was adjourned to 6th of July, 2015 at 12noon for the testimony of the second prosecution witness (PW2).]]>
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