By Yankuba Jallow
A senior and top protocol officer at the State House has on Monday told the high court in the ongoing diplomatic passport scandal case that he was playing game with Mansa Sumareh.
Momodou Sowe, believed to be second or third in the protocol ranks after the chief of protocol at the State House, said he prepared an approval letter for one Bakary Suso which he said was fake.
“I was playing game with Mansa,” he said.
Meanwhile, he admitted before the court that he received $300 from Mansa Sumareh for the diplomatic passports.
The first accused person, Mansa Sumareh- was a chief driver at the State House, while the second accused person, Ebrima J. Sanneh- was a protocol officer at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Lawyer Segga Gaye for the accused completed his cross-examination of witness Sowe.
Lawyer S. Gaye: When did you give back the $300 to Mansa Sumareh?
Sowe: Less than 24 hours after he [Mansa] had given me.
Lawyer S. Gaye: Who was present when you purportedly handed him the money?
Sowe: There was no one.
Lawyer S. Gaye: I put it to you that there was no one because it didn’t happen. You kept that money.
Sowe: I didn’t keep that money.
Lawyer S. Gaye: In fact, you received the money directly from Bakary Suso without Mansa’s knowledge.
Sowe: No, Counsel. Mansa handed that money to me almost a kilometer away from Bakary’s residence.
Lawyer S. Gaye: That approval you said was fake you did not make any attempt to retrieve it from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Sowe: No, Sir.
Lawyer S. Gaye: You made no attempt because you wanted the document to be processed.
Sowe: It was not the case.
Lawyer S. Gaye: I further put it to you that you were getting something in return.
Sowe: No, Counsel.
Lawyer S. Gaye: How long have you been a protocol officer?
Sowe: 9 Years with 3 years interval break.
Lawyer S. Gaye: Who do you report to? Who is your supervisor?
Sowe: As a protocol officer, I was under the Chief of Protocol.
Lawyer S. Gaye: Was the Chief of Protocol aware of the matter?
Sowe: No, Sir.
Lawyer S. Gaye: It is obvious that you don’t take your job seriously. You are working at the highest office in this country and yet you said you were playing a game on Mansa.
Sowe: This is an isolated incident. I have never been given any warning letter in my career as protocol officer.
Lawyer S. Gaye: Mansa was a mere driver and he had no influence over you and at all material times you were acting on your own authority in respect to this approval.
Sowe: Mansa had no authority over me – he was just a driver. He was not only a driver but the Chief Driver and the driver of His Excellency the President.
Lawyer S. Gaye: You said the 2nd accused person called you for advice; that Mansa lured him into creating an approval. That element is completely false and a mere fabrication.
Sowe: It is not false.
Lawyer S. Gaye: I put it to you that PW3 Ebou Sllah said nothing about this approval. Had it been the case, he would have mentioned it.
Sowe: It is exactly as I said.
Lawyer S. Gaye: You are not a truthful witness.
Sowe: I am truthful.
On re-examination by Lawyer Patrick Gomez for the State, Sowe was asked to provide clarity on his variant statements. Sowe during examination in-chief said he was playing games but he never submitted the fake approval letter. Whereas during cross-examination, Sowe said he never made any attempts to retrieve the approval letter which he labelled as fake.
Sowe in response said he did not submit the approval letter he made and declared as fake.
The case was adjourned to Wednesday, 24th February 2021 at 1 pm for a new witness to be brought. Sowe was discharged by the court.