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Gam Petroleum Corruption Scandal Trial: PW3 Cross-examined

Gam Petroleum Storage Facility Depot in Lamin Mandinary

By Landing Ceesay 

Defence lawyer in the Gam Petroleum Corruption Scandal Trial has cross-examined the third Prosecution Witness (PW3) at the High Court of the Gambia. 

Alieu Jallow, Registrar of Companies at Attorney General and Ministry of Justice testified in Gam Petroleum Corruption Scandal Trial as the third Prosecution Witness (PW3) on 19th May 2022 in the trial involving two staff of the facility. 

Shortly after completing his testimony, Mr. Jallow told the court during cross-examination that Gam Petroleum is a private company not a public company. 

Lawyer Mene: “Mr. Jallow, are you lawyer?” The witness responded in the affirmative. 

Lawyer Mene: “You know the difference between private companies and the public companies as statutory. They are not the same?” PW3: “Yes, I know the difference to some extent.”

Lawyer Mene: “Mr. Jallow, I am sure you are in The Gambia before 2014?” PW3: “Yes, I have been here before 2014.” 

Lawyer Mene: “It’s General knowledge, you are aware that Gam Petroleum have been existing in The Gambia before 2014.” PW3: “I don’t know.” 

“PW2, Lamin Touray, told the Court that he has been working in Gam Petroleum since 2010. Does that surprise you?” Lawyer Mene asked. “I would not be surprised because I was not privy to that,” the witness responded. 

Lawyer Mene then asked the witness whether before the 2013 Companies Act was passed into law, whether it is correct that companies were incorporated in the 1955 Act. The witness responded in the positive. 

“With the companies Act 2013, these companies that were under the 1955 companies Act were asked to migrate from the old fashioned analogue to a digital platform,” Lawyer Mene put it to the witness. And the witness confirmed. 

Lawyer Mene then put it to the witness that most of those companies were re-registered under the Companies Act 2013 as part of the reform that was introduced; which the witness confirmed, too.

The Lawyer asked the witness if he would be surprised that Gam Petroleum existed before 2013, and he responded in the positive. 

Mene then put it to the witness that the original shareholders of Gam Petroleum in 2009 or thereabout was Muhammad Bazzi and Amadou Samba, when it was originally incorporated.

“You told this court that upon incorporation i.e. 17th April 2014 that the company is required to file annual returns after 12 months from the date of incorporation,” lawyer Mene reminded PW3; and  he confirmed.

Then Lawyer Mene informed the witness that 12 months from 17th April 2014 will be 17th April 2015 and PW3 agreed.

Mene: “And 12 months after that would be the anniversary in 2016 and so and so forth.” PW3: “Yes” the witness responded. 

The case is adjourned to Tuesday at 2pm, for the appearance and testimony of the Fourth Prosecution Witness. 

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 High Court in Banjul on 4th April 2022 presided over by Justice Haddy Roche.

Their appearance in court followed their arrest regarding their alleged involvement in the alleged corruption, malpractices and the missing of USD 20 million at the depot.

A. Jarju is representing the State, while lawyers Christopher E. Mene, B. S. Conteh, S. Akimbo, Bakurin Pauline, and Sasum Sillah are representing the 1st accused and 2nd accused persons in the hearing.

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