By Rohey Jadama Antouman Gaye, defence counsel for Mr. Momodou Sabally, former Secretary General, Head of the Civil Service and Minister ofPresidential Affairs , yesterday, 13th April, 2015 cross-examined Mr. Sulayman Jatta, the “Alkali” (village head) of Bijilo and secondprosecution witness (PW2), in the ongoing trial involving his clientbefore Justice Emmanuel Amadi of the Special Criminal Division of theBanjul high court.Mr. Sabally is facing eight charges ranging from two counts of‘Economic Crimes’, three counts of ‘Abuse of Office’, two counts of‘Neglect of Official Duty’ and a single count of ‘Giving FalseInformation to a Public Officer’. He, however, pleaded not guilty toall the charges.The State was represented by the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP),Hadi Saleh Bakum.Continuing with the cross examination, the defence lawyer asked PW2whether Assan Ndoye mentioned any price for the vehicles. The witnessresponded in the negative.“Did you ask him?” enquired the defence counsel. The witness respondedin the negative.“When you were together with PW1 and Assan, did Assan mention anyprice to PW1 for the vehicles?” The witness responded in the negative.The witness was asked whether Assan produced any invoice for thevehicles. “No, but I saw Assan giving an envelope to PW1 which he saidcontains the proposals for the vehicle,” answered the witness.“In your statement at the NIA you did not mention the name Fatou MassJobe, the former Tourism and Culture Minister?” The witness respondedthat he was not asked. “The last time you were here nobody asked youto mention her name?” quizzed the defence counsel. The witness said hewas asked questions step by step, unlike when he was at the NIA.The witness was asked whether Ndoye showed him any contract for thesale of the vehicles. He responded in the negative. When asked furtheras to whether he asked Ndoye for it, he responded in the negative.Pw2 said he was introduced to Mr. Ndoye by Mr. Jallow who told himthat the former brought the vehicles to the Gambia for sale to thepresident. “I put it to you that the vehicles were not meant for saleto the president?” said the defence lawyer. The witness insisted that theywere meant for sale.“I put it to you that Ndoye brought these vehicles to donate them tothe president?” “No he brought them in order to sell them to thepresident,” answered the witness.Under re-examination, the DPP asked the witness whether Jallow was hisonly source.The Defence Counsel objected to the question. The trial judgeinterjected and asked DPP whether he asked a follow-up question whenPW2 mentioned Jallow in his evidence in chief. The DPP responded inthe negative. He added that the witness mentioned another source inhis evidence.This prompted the trial judge to go through the records. After havingspent about 30 minutes searching for the said question, the judge said“DPP is asking a new issue and you are putting me into confusion.”The DPP then withdrew the said question.PW3’s testimonyModou Sowe, a police officer attached to major crime unit at policeheadquarters, also testified as the third prosecution witness (PW3).He told the court that he recognized the accused person; that he waspart of the panel of investigators at the NIA that investigated thecase involving the accused person. He adduced that during theinvestigation he was instructed to obtain a cautionary statement fromthe accused.Pw3 told the court that he invited an independent witness, who is oneEbrima Fatty of Serrekunda. He said he took out the cautionarystatement. This evoked laughter in the court room prompting the judgeto enquire from the witness what he meant by that statement. Beforethe witness could reply, the judge said to him “A police officer knowswhat he is talking about and you are confusing everyone”.Mr. Sowe said he read the warnings on the cautionary to the accusedperson and asked him whether he would write his statement. He said theaccused responded in the positive and wrote his own statement, signedit and he endorsed it.He further told the court that on the 13th of August 2014 he was againinstructed to obtain another cautionary statement from the accused andthat he followed the same procedure as mentioned earlier. He said herecorded three voluntary statements as well.When asked by DPP whether he would recognise those statements whenshowed to him, he responded in the positive, adding that his name andrank are on it.DPP applied to tender them as exhibits and there was no objectionfrom the defence. They were then admitted as exhibits and markedaccordingly.At this juncture, the DPP applied for an adjournment to interview the witness.Defence counsel Gaye objected to this application, arguing that when awitness has been called to the court and took an oath, he/she is thewitness of the court not the DPP’s witness and that as such, thatwitness can no longer be interviewed.DPP maintained that the witness is still his witness, which was deniedby the trial judge who shook his head in disagreement and saying “ Idisagree with you DPP.’’At this stage, the DPP told the court that he has a matter in another court.The trial judge, in his ruling, said he is adjourning the case onlybecause the DPP has said that he has another case now.The case was adjourned for continuation today (Tuesday) at 11am. ]]>
Clare Baldwin, right (Andrew R.C. Marshall/Reuters)A news reporter born and raised in Alaska took home one of journalism’s top honors this week.Listen nowClare Baldwin and two of her colleagues with the Reuters news agency won the Pulitzer Prize for international reporting for their series on a brutal, ongoing drug war in the Philippines.Before spending a year and a half reporting on death squads, Baldwin said she had seen maybe one dead body, and that was in a casket at a funeral. But a big part of Baldwin’s mission, along with her Reuters colleagues Andrew R.C. Marshall and Manuel Mogato, was to show the pattern behind why more and more Filipinos were showing up dead on city streets.Baldwin, 34 and a graduate of Colony High School in Palmer, says it was difficult at times but important.“Yeah, there’s a lot of death and blood and guts, and you have to kind of keep in mind why you’re there. And you’re there to tell a story about what’s happening,” Baldwin said.What was happening — and what Baldwin said is still happening — is a drug war under Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte that has been marked by thousands of extrajudicial killings. Duterte has said the killings by his government’s anti-drug squads are justified, but they have been condemned by international human rights groups.The hard-nosed reporting by Baldwin, her colleagues and others added a greater depth to news of the ongoing violence. It has also given their international audience a better sense of the actual number of deaths and the impacts to the families left behind.“And I also hope this brings a lot more attention back to the Philippines, because the drug war is still happening, people are still being killed, these families are still asking for justice, and there are a lot of really wonderful local reporters that are still covering this,” Baldwin said.Baldwin was once a local reporter, too. That was before college at Stanford, before she became a special correspondent in Southeast Asia for Reuters and before moving to Hong Kong, where she lives on a boat.Baldwin was still in high school when she reported for the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman. She also worked for the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner and the Peninsula Clarion. And, among other outdoor activities, Baldwin did some mountaineering with her dad.Baldwin said growing up in Alaska shaped her as a person and helped her in many ways, including the ability to improvise.“Or the desire to improvise,” Baldwin said with a laugh. “Being comfortable in kind of uncomfortable places. Because the more you can just deal with yourself and be comfortable in rough conditions, the better. Like you’ll do a better job.”Baldwin’s parents, Ralph Baldwin and Susan Gunther, still live in Wasilla. They were proud and pleasantly surprised to get what they described as an typically “understated” announcement from their daughter this week about the Pulitzer.Considering the subject matter of the reporting, they both say they are concerned sometimes about her safety on reporting trips abroad, poking around in such violent circumstances. But both parents said Baldwin has proven she’s capable of taking care of herself with good judgement and a good sense of risk management.Susan said they strived to teach their children to be independent critical thinkers.“Sometimes when you raise your kids to be independent, the (downside) is they do take off and end up in different parts of the world,” Susan said. “But we’re really proud of them, and when we can see them, we’re thrilled.”Baldwin does make it back to Alaska to visit from time to time. But she is currently working on another reporting project, this time in Bangladesh, telling the stories of hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing persecution and, again, reports of government sanctioned killing.