By Mamadou Dem Mr. Sheriff Dibba, the Secretary General of the Gambia National Transport Control Association (GNTCA), was yesterday, 25 March, cross-examined by the president of the Gambia Transport Food andAgriculture Industrial Workers Union, Ousman Drammeh after he gave his evidence before magistrate Fatou Darboe of the Banjul Magistrates’ Court. Mr. Drammeh is standing trial on charges of allegedly given false information to the office of the Secretary General and Head of the Civil Service, which he denied and was granted bail in the sum of D200, 000 and was ordered to produce one Gambian surety. Mr Drammeh alleged that Mumine Sey the current president of The Gambia National Transport Control Association and the secretary general, Sheriff Dibba of conniving with some senior police officers to forcefully remove Fillijeh Nyassi as the president of the association. He further alleged the president for financial misappropriation and liberalization of foreign trucks over Gambian own trucks, allegation prosecution believed was unfounded and misleading. Cross-examining the witness, Mr Drammeh asked Mr. Dibba, who is also second prosecution witness (PW2), to tell the court his role at the association as well as the aims and objectives of their association. “I am the secretary general of The Gambia Transport Control Association and I served in that position for fourteen years. The main aims and objectives of the association are to foster cooperation between transport workers for the transportation of goods and services and also to develop the skills of drivers and members of the association. And all the transport workers are under the banner of the association,” said Mr. Dibba. PW2 told the Court that he could not remember exactly how many car parks are within Kanifing Municipality, adding that not all car parks do pay their dues to his association. He said: “Yes, I do remember the car parks that are registered with the association do pay dues but not exactly 65 car parks as claimed by the accused.” The association, he added, does also generate income from outgoing tickets or manifests, but I cannot remember basically how often they pay this to the association. “Did you receive receipts to determine what they pay? asked Mr Drammeh “Yes we do,” replied Mr Dibba. When asked whether he would be able to identify the receipts issued by his association to the car parks association if shown to him, Mr Dibba answered in the positive. Mr Drammeh, at this point, handed over a bunch of receipts to the witness and asked him to tell the court what purpose those receipts are basically for. Mr Dibba responded that these receipts were not issued by his office so he could not dwell on them. On the issue of liberalization or advantages given to foreign trucks over The Gambian own trucks as claimed by the accused in his petition letter, the secretary general of the association described the claim as unfounded and a lie. He added that they have a truck garage within Banjul where goods destined for both within and outside the country are loaded, but that the transit vehicles are loaded by transit agents and not their association. “We only issue manifests after the loading of the truck. All vehicles loaded are manifested and stamped by our office,” said the witness. Asked whether he will be able to identify a manifest if he sees a copy, he responded in the positive. At this juncture, the accused asked the witness to look at some documents and tell the court whether the address is 18/19 Wellington Street. He responded in the positive. “Do you have a representative at Ports when agents are loading the trucks for transit?” asked the accused. Mr. Dibba responded in the positive, adding that the cargo brokers are not under their association. “Does a branch office have the right to prepare its own receipt?” asked Drammeh. “I don’t know,” answered the witness. The accused asked, “I put it to you that genuine receipts are always prepared by your head office and issued to branch offices.” PW2 replied in the negative. The accused further put it to the witness that their head office does prepare receipts and receive D250.00 from various car parks within the country. “I put to you that it is your office that issues outgoing tickets that you receive D5.00 per trip,” said Mr. Drammeh. The witness concurred. Mr. Drammeh maintained that GNTCA prepares and issues cargo manifests to trucks but the witness replied in the negative. Mr. Dibba further testified that he doesn’t know the percentage foreign trucks pay if there is any. Drammeh added, “I put to you that Gambian trucks don’t load goods once they discharged their goods from any sub-region.” “That’s not true,” said the witness. Mr. Drammeh finally put it to the witness that after knowing the truth, he deviated to tell the truth before the court, but the witness disagreed. At this juncture, Police Prosecutor Alieu Faye applied for an adjournment to enable him call the next prosecution witness. Consequently, the case was adjourned to 8th April, 2015 for continuation of hearing. ]]>
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