By Mamadou Dem Amadou John, National Coordinator of the West African Bird StudySait Matty Jaw Association (WABSA), who doubles as vice chairman for the Banjul youth committee and the third prosecution witness in the trial of Sait Matty Jaw, yesterday, Wednesday, April 8, ended his evidence in chief before Magistrate Samsideen Conteh of Banjul Magistrates’ Court.Mr. Jaw is standing trial on charges of conspiracy, failure to register a business and disobedience to statutory duty which he denied. He was earlier charged along with Seth Yaw Kandeh, a Ghanaian national, and Olufemi Erinle Titus, from Nigeria, both of whom pleaded guilty to all counts and were accordingly sentenced to a fine by the court. Mr. Jaw, however, maintained his innocence. Continuing with his evidence in-chief, the third prosecution witness testified that he made enquiries as to why the media did not cover both the opening and closure of the training but was not given any answer. He said four days after the training, Pw2 (Mustapha Jaw) called to informed him that he (Pw2) has been selected as supervisor while he (Pw3) was selected as participant. “We then convened a meeting at his residence. During the meeting, he told us that they were supposed to have a training for the supervisors. We told him that if you go tell the trainers that if they don’t provide T-Shirts and identification cards, we are not going to participate,” said the witness. Mr. John said when Pw2 returned he gave them feedback and informed them that transportation will be allocated during the event while payments will be made after the event. He added that Pw2 summoned another meeting again at his house to tell them the day they should start the survey exercise from Banjul to Fajara. On their payments for the survey, the witness testified that they were asked whether to be paid in advance or after concluding the survey exercise but that they opted for payment in advanced. He said they agreed that if there is clearance and rest of the materials provided, they would commence the survey, adding that they went to the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) headquarters to give statements. PW3 testified that while coming from the NIA Office, he said to PW2 that they were allocated money without conducting the exercise and that Pw2 told him that if he gets any update from the organizers, he will inform them. He said four days later, a supervisor from Kanifing Municipality (KM) came to Banjul and called Mustapha Jow, who in turn called him to come and meet with the man. At this stage, the lead counsel, Lamin Camara, who appeared together with Segga Gaye, interjected and raised an objection on the evidence given by the witness. He argued that the witness was giving hearsay evidence and therefore urged the court to expunge that piece of evidence. State counsel Babacarr Drammeh, on the other hand, submitted that the evidence given by the witness was not hearsay and consequently referred the court to Section 80 of the Evidence Act. He asked the court to overrule the objection by the defence and allow the witness to continue with his evidence. In his ruling, Magistrate Samsideen Conteh upheld the objection and expunged that piece of evidence on the grounds that it was hearsay evidence. Further testifying before the court, the witness told the court that when they met at Independence Drive in Banjul, the KM supervisor told them that he was sent by the accused to receive money from Mustapha Jaw (Pw2); that he counted the money and gave it to him and that all of them signed. Under cross-examination, the defence asked him whether it is correct that he participated during the course of the entire training, he responded in the affirmative. He added that it is correct that he told the court that they were dealing with three trainers who are foreign nationals. “Who was the overall authority at the training?” quizzed Camra. “Actually, I don’t know,” responded John. “You told the court that you were shown questionnaires during the training. Could you remember the whole questionnaires where you are?” The witness responded in the negative, adding that it is bulky. The witness finally told the court that he does not know who authored the questionnaires. Cross-examination continues today (9 April).]]>

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