By Mamadou Dem The jailed former Secretary General, Head of Civil Service andNjogu Bah Presidential Affairs Minister, Dr Njogu Bah, yesterday, 23 February, 2015 opened his defence in the single count ‘abuse of office’ trial before Magistrate Dawda Jallow of the lower court in Banjul.Dr. Bah  is accused of interfering with the appointment of Ms Jainaba Jobarteh as The Gambia’s representative to the United Nations in New York without following due procedures when he was the Secretary General and Head of Civil Service. He, however, denied any wrong doing. He told the lower court in Banjul that he could not justify the reasons behind the renewal of the contract of Mr. Yusupha Dibba, the then Permanent Secretary at Foreign Affairs and second prosecution witness in the case, since he was not responsible for the renewal of contracts. He said this remark while being cross-examined by state counsel, Mansour Jobe. Giving evidence under cross-examination, the incarcerated former Presidential Affairs Minister said: “I have earlier indicated in my evidence that when I came to The Gambia in 2005, Mr Dibba was my first point of contact. I found Mr Dibba in the system and he could have more experience in the civil service because of the number of years he served in the system. But I don’t think for sure he has more experience in managing the affairs of civil service, rather it has to be based on what type of job experience.” The state prosecutor put it to him by that the reason why Mr Dibba’s contract was renewed must have been based on dedication and experience and that he was not left in isolation as the then Secretary General and Head of Civil Service when the decision was taken by the executive. Dr Bah paused and then replied: “When I met Mr Dibba in the system at that time, I knew that he was a dedicated and committed civil servant and well-experienced and I have said that in my evidence. I only knew that his contract has been renewed on two or more occasion and in general, the renewal of contract is based on the commitment and dedication. But I was not responsible for the renewal of Dibba’s contract so I could not know the reasons behind the renewal of his contract.” “Dr Bah I put it to you that the renewal of Mr Dibba’s contract as the then secretary general and head of civil service, you were not left in isolation?” state prosecutor Jobe enquired. “I could probably remember once when Mr Dibba’s contract was renewed during my tenure as the secretary general and head of civil service. But recommendations do come from Personnel Management Office to my office and I pass it to executive for final decision. I believed that final decision was taken by the executive that resulted to the renewal of Mr Dibba’s contract,” Dr Bah replied. Dr Bah said he could not justify whether Dibba’s contract was renewed independently by the executive without due consultation of his office, maintaining that the duty of his office was to forward all minutes that passes through his office to the executive for final decision. At this stage, barrister Lamin Mboge, counsel for the accused, crave the indulgence of the court for an adjournment to enable him attend to other matters at the High Court. The case was subsequently adjourned to 5 March for continuation of cross-examination.]]>

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