By Landing Ceesay
The Chief Executive Officer of GACH Global Abubakary Jawara told the Court in his defamation case against former Secretary General and Minister of Presidential Affairs, Momodou Sabally, that everyone in the Gambia is doing “age cheating.”
During a marathon cross-examination by Sabally’s lawyer, Abdoulie Fatty, Mr. Jawara confirmed the forging of his passport by his parents.
“When I was going to Angola in 1994, I was a teenager, and I was having a passport with a date of birth of 1975. But I was deported in 1996,” Jawara told the court.
Mr. Jawara went on to tell the court that his parents changed his date of birth from 1975 to 1974 when he wanted to return to Angola after his deportation because he was a teenager in 1996 and therefore cannot process his own passport at the time.
“In an interview with Lamin Njie, the then Editor-in-chief of the Fatu Network, you told him that you deliberately changed your passport because you wanted to go back to Angola,” Sabally’s Lawyer Abdoulie Fatty put it to Abubakary Jawara.
“I was just honest with Mr. Lamin Njie at the Fatu Network. But at that time my parents wanted me to go back, and they are the ones who processed my passport,” Jawara responded.
Counsel Fatty to Abubakary Jawara: “In that interview, Lamin Njie expressly said to you that you cheated, and you said yes.”
“Yes, but I told Lamin Njie that I did it for some reason. In the Gambia here everyone is doing age cheating, especially footballers,” Abubakary Jawara told the court.
“Do you know falsifying public documents is a criminal Act,” Counsel Fatty asked.
“I am the one who invited Lamin Njie to my house and told him that. But at the time, I did not know it was a criminal act,” Jawara stated.
At this time, the video interview that Abubakary Jawara had with the former editor-in-chief of the Fatu Network, Lamin Njie, was played in court. In the interview, Abubakary Jawara, could be heard telling Lamin Njie that he forged his passport because he wanted to go back to Angola after he was deported in 1996. However, in that said interview, Jawara did not tell Lamin Njie that his passport was processed by his parents.
“I changed my age in the passport. Because I want to go back to Angola,” Jawara told Lamin Njie in the interview.
Shortly after the video was played in the courtroom, Counsel Fatty told Abubakary Jawara that he admitted cheating on his age.
“In this interview, it was conducted in a language that is not mine. Maybe it was translated in a way that I don’t mean to say. Because I am a Sarahule,” Abubakary said.
“But Mr. Jawara, you said this in English,” Counsel Fatty told Jawara.
“I give this information to Lamin Njie voluntarily. But my parents did it for me to be progressive in life,” Abubakary told the court.
“I am putting it to you that falsifying a national document is not a trade for an impeccable character,” Counsel Fatty told Abubakary Jawara.
Momodou Sabally (the defendant) has been served a Writ of Summons to appear before the High Court in Banjul on November 14th, 2022, to respond to a civil suit filed by Abubakar Jawara (the plaintiff).
Abubakary Jawara is claiming: Damages for defamation and slander; an order directing the defendant (Momodou Sabally) to issue an unreserved apology to the plaintiff (Abubakary Jawara) to be published widely circulating national newspapers; An Order that the defendant does pay to the plaintiff the sum of GMB 8,000,000.00 being special damages; A perpetual injunction restraining the defendant (Momodou Sabally) either through his agents, cronies, associates, contacts, or further defaming, the plaintiff (Abubakary Jawara) in any way or manner whosoever; Interest at the rate of 15% per annum until the date of judgment; Cost; and for such further or others as this Honourable Court deems fit.