By Landing Ceesasy
The CEO of GACH Global Abubacarr Jawara was cross-examined by defence Badou S. Conteh in the Gam Petroleum corruption scandal trial.
Mr. Jawara appeared in Court as the Seventh Prosecution Witness (PW7) in the trial at the High Court of the Gambia involving two staff of Gam Petroleum.
The 2 staff namely Saihou Drammeh (1st accused), former Managing Director and Lamin Gassama (2nd accused), former Operations Manager of the institution are charged with 8 counts (3 counts of economic crimes and 5 other counts) in the alleged corruption scandal.
The eight counts are levelled against the two in their maiden court appearance at the Court in Banjul on 4th April 2022 presided over by Justice Haddy Roche.
Their appearance in court followed their arrest concerning their alleged involvement in the alleged corruption, malpractices and the missing of fuel products worth USD 20 million at the depot.
During the cross-examination, Mr Jawara said although he never gave money to the 1st accused, but he believes that he (1st accused) stole his money.
Mr Jawara said the 1st accused authorised him to make a payment through a Bank account named ‘Korinbo’, which he made.
The defence lawyer informed the witness (Mr.Jawara) that the 1st accused did not know Korinbo and he (1st accused) only came to know Korinbo at the police station.
Mr. Jawara said he never knew that the 1st accused did not know Korinbo.
“When I gave the receipts to the 1st accused in his office, he didn’t tell me that he doesn’t know Korinbo,” Mr Jawara told the court.
The defence lawyer then told Jawara that the 1st accused knew nothing about the transaction, but only his (Mr Jawara) agent and Korinbo knew about it; but Mr Jawara disagreed.
The defence lawyer then told the witness that his agent Kaddijatou Kebbeh told the police that she gave the money to her father to send to the supplier; Mr Jawara confirmed that as true.
He said his agent Kaddijatou Kebbeh was acting as an agent to him and sometimes they do business transactions.
When asked whether he travelled with Kaddijatou Kebbeh all over the world, Mr Jawara said he had never travelled with her outside the Gambia. But said he once met her in China and England, but said they never went there together.
Then the defence lawyer told Mr Jawara that he travelled with his agent because she is a ‘very beautiful woman.’ Mr Jawara agreed that Kebbeh is beautiful but maintained that he never travelled with her outside the country.
PW7 told the court that he didn’t physically give the money to Kaddijatou but his finance & admin did all the transactions on his behalf.
He said the agreements he has with his agent were all verbal and no documents were signed.
The defence lawyer showed Mr Jawara the defence statement his agent filed at the High Court.
The prosecution lawyer Mballow objected on the basis that the agent’s defence statement would amount to hearsay which is inadmissible in criminal matters.
However, Justice Haddy Roche overruled the objection, saying “the document is relevant and it will be in the exhibits”.
The defence lawyer then said in the document the agent said Mr Jawara told her that the money belongs to the suppliers, not the 1st accused; but Mr Jawara insisted that is not “true”.
The defence lawyer told Mr Jawara that the 1st accused will never accept cash payment from him; but Mr Jawara insisted that the 1st accused did ask him to pay the money in cash.
When asked about the consignment he said is coming, Mr Jawara said he never said that it is coming but he is preparing to bring it into the country.
“I am putting it to you that you are lying because you told this court that you are receiving 25 thousand metric tons of petroleum products,” the defence lawyer put it to Mr Jawara, but the witness insisted that he was telling the truth.
The defence lawyer said Mr Jawara told the 1st accused that he is bringing a shipment of products which was why the 1st accused gave him products; but Jawara maintained that he was only preparing to bring the consignment into the country.
The defence lawyer alleged that Mr Jawara knew that he was scamming the 1st accused because the shipment never arrived in the country. However, Mr Jawara insisted that it was not a scam and that the 1st accused stole his money.
The defence lawyer put it to Mr. Jawara that his agent Kaddijatou Kebbeh confirmed that she received the money to pay the supplier and the evidence is before the court.
Mr Jawara said his agent Kaddijatou is protecting the 1st accused because they are in love; and alleged that the 1st accused and his agent connive to steal from him because they are in love.
The defence lawyer said Mr Jawara is in love with his agent and the agent didn’t love him. That’s why he thinks that the 1st accused is in love with his agent Kaddijatou Kebbeh.
The defence said no business transactions or payments are done by Mr Jawara that the 1st accused signed; which Jawara said is “true” but insisted that his agent and the 1st accused stole his money.
“I am putting it to you that you are a big and perpetual liar, and everyone knows that you are a liar. You came to the court and you are still lying before this honourable court. Despite the evidence that the 1st accused never signed any money transaction with you and that evidence is before the court and they are brought by your lawyer,” Defence lawyer told the Mr. Jawara.
Lawyer M.D. Mballow represented the State, while lawyers Christopher E. Mene, B. S. Conteh, S. Akimbo, Bakurin Pauline, and Sasum Sillah represented the 1st accused and 2nd accused persons in the hearing.
Hearing continues this afternoon.