The Vice Chairman of the ruling Alliance for Patriotic, Re-orientation and Construction party (APRC) at Tanji village, whosaid he is “not educated”, has said the news story carried by The Voice stating that 19 green youths defected to the opposition UDP, is not true.
Sainte Manneh appeared at the Banjul Magistrate Court on Monday to testify in theongoing trial of Musa S. Sheriff, editor-in-chief of The Voice and journalist Sainey M.K. Marenah. Both have pleaded not guilty to charges of “conspiracy to commit amisdemeanor” and “false publication”, charges brought against them by thepolice in Banjul since January.
Manneh said he and his executive committee gathered at the Alkalo’scompound where they all read the newspaper.
“If the newspaper said that the youths of Tanji went to the meeting, Iwill agree, but to say 19 green youths were at the meeting – that was nottrue because there was no green youth in Tanji at that time,” he said.
During cross examination by defence counsel Lamin S. Camara, he said he isnot educated, but gave a statement to the police pertaining to the matter.Manneh said he can’t remember the actual date he made his statement. His statement was admitted as defence exhibit one (DE1) by Magistrate Hillary Abeke.
Manneh said on the day of the rally he was in Tanji, but admitted that hedidn’t have a register for the green youth to sign when they are in thevillage.
“If Tanji green youth were at the meeting I will know because anywherethey go to, like Kanilai, Brikama and Kanifing they will tell me before they go or move out of the place,” he said.
Lawyer Camara asked the witness to show him in his statement where hedenied that 19 green youths defected to the opposition UDP. But ProsecutorMusa Camara objected, saying the witness told the court that he is an“illiterate” – so he wouldn’t know.
Magistrate Abeke overruled the prosecution’s objection and allowed thewitness to answer. He said he is not educated but the statement is his andit was sign by him.
The trial continues on 16, 17 and 18 June 2014.