By Rohey Jadama
Mr. Yerro Saidy a police officer has continued his testimony in the case involving Ebrima Jawara, former Permanent Secretary of Agriculture and erstwhile project coordinator of Rural Finance Project respectively and three others before Justice Eunice O. Dada of the Banjul High Court.
The other accused persons are Dr. Alasan Bah, former project coordinator Rural Finance Project, Mr. Sulayman Manneh, former project Accountant Rural Finance Project and Hassan Jallow.
Continuing his evidence Mr. Saidy said their investigation was centered on the audited report received from the National Audit Office.
According to the witness the report raised various issues, however, before he could finished talking defence counsel Mene objected to this piece of evidence arguing that the witness cannot give evidence on a document that is not before the court.
Lawyer Hawa Sisay-Sabally also adopted the objection of Lawyer Mene and further submitted that even if the document is before the court they won’t be able to cross-examine the witness on it because he is not the maker of it.
Responding to the objections of the defence counsels, state counsel Lamin Jarju argued that the objection is misleading because the witness is part of the investigative team and that he is stating facts based on the report.
He further argued that the witness is giving facts that transpired and he is not going through the content of the document. He finally urged the court to overrule the objection.
Lawyer Mene said his learned friend has misconceived their objection. He said they are objecting to the witness going through the content of the audit report and not his evidence.
In her ruling Justice Dada sustained the objection of the defence counsels and ordered the prosecuting counsel to guide the witness on the report.
Responding to questions from prosecutor Jarju, the witness adduced that during the investigations the accused persons were asked questions based on the queries on the audited report.
When asked whether there where findings, the witness responded in the positive. He said during their investigation the former project coordinator Mr. Alasan Bah (2nd accused person) received advanced fuel allocation of D100,500.
“The panel found out that he handed over only D19,000 to Ebrima Jawara (1st accused) leaving the balance of D81,500. The panel further found out that Mr. Bah has paid tuition fees for non- project staff and one of them was found to be his nephew”, said the witness.
Mr. Saidy further told the court that D130,000 was allocated to the project coordinator(Mr. Bah) for his monthly fuel allowance, while D80,000 was allocated for Mr. Sulayman Manneh (3rd accused) for his monthly fuel allowance.
He further told the court that the accused persons claimed that it was approved by the project steering committee but they did not substantiate it.
Under cross- examinations by Lawyer Mene, the witness was asked whether their finding is contained in a report. The witness responded in the positive.
When asked whether he has a copy of the said report in court, he responded in the negative.
When he was further asked whether his oral evidence in court is contained in the said report, he responded in the positive.
At this juncture, Lawyer Mene urged the court to order the witness to provide the defence with a copy of the said report.
Subsequently, the case was adjourned till today 18 October, 2016 at 11 am for continuation of hearing. The witness was ordered by the court to produce the said police report.