Erstwhile secretary general and head of the civil service Momodou Sabally informed the Banjul High Court on Friday that he wasn’t aware of any sort of authorization from the office of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) for the inspection of Dr. Abubakary Jawara’s store before the hunting guns were stored there.
Philanthropist and business tycoon, Dr. Abubakary Jawara, has since last year sued Mr. Sabally for allegedly damaging his reputation by linking him to guns, drugs and exploitation.
A fortnight ago, Dr. Jawara mounted the witness box and told the court that he was issued a licence to import hunting guns into the country.
The trial resumed at the Banjul High Court on Friday with the cross-examination of Mr. Sabally by Dr. Jawara’s defense team led by senior counsel I. Drammeh.
Sabally testified under cross-examination that he did not know whether the Office of the IGP had inspected Dr. Jawara’s store before the storage of the guns there.
Still responding under cross-examination, the former presidential affairs minister said he did not make any attempt to check whether the Office of the IGP had inspected or authorized the inspection of the plaintiff’s store.
“I do not have to, considering the alarm raised about the guns and the investigations,” Sabally replied when counsel Drammeh enquired from him as to whether he made any attempt to establish if the IGP’s office authorized the inspection of the store.
“I am going to ask you a general question. In fact, you did not check the accuracy of the facts of the stories about the plaintiff before publication,” counsel Drammeh contended.
“Generally, yes,” Sabally agreed.
“When you say generally, Mr. Sabally, you do not include the NEA, offices of the IGP and the President,” the senior counsel enquired.
“I did not and I do not have to,” Sabally answered. He then added:”I was operating in the new-found democracy and I was doing it for public good. I did it in the public interest like the ads on condoms.”
“So, Mr. Sabally, you agree that when you make statements, they are intended to generate responses,” asked counsel Drammeh.
“Yes, for the common good as in the national anthem,” replied Sabally.
“You can speak about what you think is common good from your own perspective,” fired counsel Drammeh before adding:” That’s the only thing you can do.”
“I can do it in the perspective of the public as well as mine,” Sabally disagreed.
“I am putting it to you that your public is your constituents,” argued the senior counsel.
“I speak to all, including cabinet ministers and the population.They count on me for things good for the country,” said the former presidential affairs minister.
When asked whether it was correct that he did not have the right to insult anyone in his writings, Sabally responded:” Yes, except that person insults me.”
“Am putting it to you that tit-for-tat insult is for children at the playground not for adults,” counsel Drammeh asserted.
“It’s accepted in Islam. Eye for eye, limb for limb,” Sabally disagreed.
“So, you agree from that analogy that if you have caused harm to somebody, you should pay that harm,” asked the senior counsel.
“If I harm somebody, I expect to be harmed the same way as accepted by the law of Moses,” agreed Sabally.
“I am putting it to you that the plaintiff lost D8m as a result of your publication,” Counsel Drammeh told Sabally.
“No,” Sabally responded.
He denied that his publication caused the closure of Dr. Jawara’s tomato paste factory because he (Dr. Jawra) was unable to get the vital raw materials for production.
“You said no but you don’t know where the plaintiff was getting his raw materials from,” the counsel quizzed Sabally.
However, Sabally said he differed with the counsel because of the period of time between his publication and the closure of the factory, saying raw material from Casamance is as good as India’s.
“I am putting it to you that you do not know the type of tomato used for paste,” argued counsel Drammeh.
“I know because the industrial trade policy is that you don’t locate in a place where you cannot get raw materials,” Sabally explained.
Asked whether he knew Romas and San Marzanos juicy tomato, Sabally replied: “I do not know the names because of the technical names of the tomato.”
“And, you don’t know the names of tomatoes produced in The Gambia and Casamance,” asked counsel Drammeh.
“I know they are juicy and eatable,” Sabally replied.
But counsel Drammeh put it to Sabally that he did not know the names of tomatoes produced in The Gambia and Casamance.
“Sabally, you don’t know the names. If you know the names, we are not going to spend the day here,” counsel Drammeh argued.
“I don’t know their names but I know the tomatoes can be used for paste,” Sabally concurred.
“Have you ever produced paste with them,”asked counsel Drammeh.
“I know there are companies, working towards it,” replied Sabally.
TO BE CONTINUED…