UPDATE: Gambia: Trial of Dr. Isatou Touray & Amie Bojang-Sissoho adjourned to 22 December

The Point

Lamin Manneh, a security officer, yesterday testified in the trial of Dr. Isatou Touray, the Executive Director of Gambia Committe on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Girls, and Amie Bojang-Sissoho, Programme Coordinator of the same organisation at the Banjul Magistrates' Court.

The two prominent women's rights activists are alleged to have stolen 30,000 Euros being money provided by the YALOCAMBA SOLIDARIDAD of Spain to GAMCOTRAP sometime in 2009.

Lamin Manneh, the seventh prosecution witness, told the court that he is a security officer attached to the National Intelligence Agency (NIA).

Manneh told the court that he recognised the accused persons, and could remember what happened on 30th of June 2010, when he received a phone call from the YALOCAMBA SOLIDARIDAD in Spain that Gamcotrap was not utilizing properly the funds they received from YALOCAMBA SOLIDARIDAD.

He pointed out that both parties were invited to the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and statements and documents obtained from them pertaining to the investigation.

When asked by the prosecuting officer, ASP Joof, how many documents were received, the witness said several documents, adding that, if he could see the documents, he would be able to recognize them.

At that juncture, the prosecuting officer applied to tender the documents in court as exhibits, being the documents the prosecution received from the parties based on the investigation.

But the defence insisted that the author of the documents should appear in court to give evidence in relation to the documents they received from the YOLOCAMBA SOLIDARIDADA, and not the witness.

Counsel Amie Bensouda told the court that even though the documents were not the documents given to the defence by the prosecution, and the accused persons have never seen those documents before, the author of the documents should appear in court for cross-examination.

She said the defence was objecting to two documents, out of the whole documents, on the grounds that those two documents bear no address, have no connection with Gamcotrap, and have alterations on them. She adduced that it would be wrong for the court to admit those documents as evidence.

However, the trial magistrate overruled the defense objection, and admitted all except the two that were objected to by the defence.

Counsel told the court that the profile alteration report concerns 25,000 Euros being allegedly misused by the Gamcotrap officials, dated 24th June 2010, noting that the complainant in this case did not come and give evidence in court.

"The name bears one Daniel, who is not a witness in this court, so it would be improper for the court to admit the two documents in court," she added.

"The documents are un-addressed, and it is quite clear that the two documents that the defence was objecting to have no connection with Gamcotrap or the accused persons and, therefore, the court cannot admit them as evidence in court," counsel Bensouda continued.

At that juncture, the trial magistrate advised the prosecution to serve the defence with all relevant documents, as earlier ordered by the court.

Magistrate Nkea further said that if the prosecution failed to do so, he would not proceed with the case until they are served.

He then adjourned the case till 22nd December 2010.


Author: Bakary Samateh
December 10, 2010