By Mamadou Dem Dr. Njogu Bah, one time Secretary General, Head of the Civil Service and Presidential Affairs Minister, who is currently serving a 2 year jail term, continued his defence at the magistrates’ court in Banjul presided over by Principal Magistrate Dawda Jallow yesterday, 23 March, 2015.Continuing his testimony under cross examination by the state, Dr. Bah told the Court that it is correct that he stated in his statement that the postings of Miss Jainaba Jobarteh was proposed from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He said it was proposed from the said ministry through a file that came to him. “Will you agree with me that proper posting cannot be conducted without having an internal meeting at the Foreign Affairs?” quizzed state counsel, Mansour Jobe. Dr. Bah Replied that he would not know whether there was a meeting or not because he was not at the Foreign Affairs Ministry, adding that postings are done through the office of the Secretary General via Personnel Management Office (PMO). “Does it mean that the Office of the Secretary General deals directly with the PMO when it comes to postings without involving foreign affairs?” asked counsel. The witness replied in the affirmative. He said all postings, including appointment letters, are written and signed by PMO. “Therefore it is correct that postings can as well emanate from the office of the Secretary General?” Dr. Bah reiterated that postings are done either from the office of the Secretary General and directed to PMO for action or PMO sends in a file with recommendation for endorsement and that no third party is involve. He said it is not correct as stated by the prosecution that the decision of posting Miss Jobarteh to their Permanent Mission in New York was never from the PMO. The former Secretary General further testified that as far as he is concerned, he received a file from the Permanent Secretary, Personal Management Office, which clearly forwarded a recommendation from the ministry of foreign affairs for Ms Jobarteh to be posted to the Permanent Mission in New York. He said he endorsed and returned it to PMO and which was confirmed by PW3 (Dawda Fadera). When asked by state counsel Jobe whether it is correct that at the time of posting Ms Jobarteh, Pw2 (Yusupha Dibba) was about to be redeployed to the ministry of defence but the witness replied that he got it wrong, adding that Mr. Dibba was redeployed to the ministry of higher education. Further asked whether he will agree with prosecution that prior to Dibba’s redeployment, he (Bah) called Mr. Dibba and informed him about Ms. Jobarteh’s posting but Dibba advised him to follow the normal procedure as he was not in a position to help because he was leaving. At this stage, his attorney, Lamin Mboge objected to the question which was upheld by the court. The prosecution was asked to rephrase the question. Dr. Bah further told the court that he would not call PS Dibba on the appointments of Miss Jainaba Jobarteh. He said if he wanted to appoint Ms. Jobarteh based on her qualification and competence, he would have written directly to the PS PMO which, he added, has been the norm. “Why didn’t you write directly to the PS PMO for the appointment of Ms. Jobarteh?” asked the state counsel. “When I received the file from PMO proposing the appointment of Ms. Jobarteh, it was the same time it sounded to me that the office needed to be capacitised,” said the accused. “You want to tell this court that it was a coincidence?” “I’m not saying that,” he replied. The prosecutor put it to the accused that if he had called any PS at the ministry of foreign affairs for the appointment in any of the foreign missions, then that call could not have followed the normal process or procedure. Dr. Bah said it is possible. It was again put to him that he interfered with the appointment and postings of Ms. Jobarteh to the Permanent Mission by calling PS Dibba to inform the PMO PS, but he said that is incorrect. He added that if he were to make a call, he would have called the PS PMO (Pw3). “Can you on your own appoint Jainaba Jobarteh to the Permanent Mission in New York?” The witness replied that he did not post her on his own but instead he received a file and recommended on it. He told the Court that the Secretary General works directly with the PMO and that if he deems it fit for an appointment, he or she can write to PMO or call PS PMO and give him or her directives or instructions. He added that based on qualification and competence, the secretary general can appoint Ms. Jobarteh without making any call to PMO. At this juncture, the matter was adjourned to 1st April, 2015 for re-examination by lawyer Mboge, counsel for the defence.]]>
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