By Momodou Jarju
Pa Abibou Mbye, an ex-Crime Management Coordinator (CMC) during the reign of the defunct AFPRC Government, has told the TRRC that Ousman Koro Ceesay, was murdered by Yankuba Touray and Edward Singhatey, to hide financial irregularities of the former junta Government.
“In June 1995, speculation was rife that former Finance Minister in the Junta Government (late Koro Ceesay), was going to give a budget speech before Parliament, and there were financial discrepancies caused by the junta (AFPRC) which they did not want him to disclose. But the late former Financial Minister insisted that he must go ahead with the budget speech in Parliament,” Mbye said. He added that Koro was a fearless and obstinate person.
Mbye said one night while he was asleep, he received a call from one Cham around 1.00 am and was informed that he saw the vehicle of the late Finance Minister followed by the Land Rover of former Junta Member Edward Singhateh, going towards Jambur; that his informant (Cham) said the vehicle he saw, resembles that of Edward Singhateh, the former Vice-Chairman of the AFPRC.
He said the following morning, rumours spread that Koro was dead; that he died in a car accident and was burnt in his vehicle whilst others were saying he was murdered by the military junta.
“I believe that he was murdered, because I thought the motive of his murder was his intension to reveal financial irregularities in Parliament which the junta did not want the public to know,” the witness said.
He said he was a witness of the post-mortem of Koro, saying he met Lieutenant Peter Singhateh at the hospital with his hands bandaged. “There was information that he (Peter Singhateh) got burnt at the time they were burning Koro Ceesay,” the witness said.
Pa Mbaye said the remains of Koro was brought out of the Hospital and were taken to the X-ray Unit.
“I looked at Peter and deliberately said to him that the killing of Koro Ceesay, was foul play. He did not say anything but I saw on his face, that he did not like what I said because it was manifested,” the witness said. He said thereafter, he went back to his office and decided to go to the purported scene of the accident; that he undertook to investigate the matter as the CMC. “I was doing it single-handedly,” the witness said.
He said he noticed that the number plate of the vehicle belonging to that late Koro Ceesay, was detached and the place where the number place was on the vehicle, was not affected by the fire.
“The accident was a makeup. It did not happen actually. The vehicle was on a bridge and was burnt completely. Looking at the nature of the ‘accident’, the vehicle could not have been burnt like that,” the witness adduced.
Still on the investigation, M’bye said he went to the airport to dig more into the issue; adding one of the senior officers told him that the vehicles of Yankuba Touray and Edward Singhteh, were parked in front and at the back of late Koro Ceesay’s vehicle respectively, making it impossible for him to leave, without these people leaving first.
“From my investigations, I was told that the late Koro was the first to arrive at the airport, the day Yahya Jammeh was travelling. After Yahya Jammeh left, there was discussion held and after that, Edward Singhatey jumped into his own vehicle and Yankuba Touray jumped into Koro’s vehicle, whilst his (Touray’s) vehicle was driven by someone else,” the witness said. He said the then IGP called him and asked him about the investigation into the murder of the late Koro Ceesay.
“I was reluctant to tell him anything because no one assigned me to do the investigation. I was skeptical that was why I did not tell him anything,” the witness said. He said the following morning, Yankuba Touray called him to his office at the Quadrangle to answer to him.
“When I arrived, Yankuba Touray looked at me for almost two minutes. I saw in his face that he was not happy with me. He just looked at me for a while and told me not to worry; that I can go back to my office,” the witness said.
He said the following morning, one Cadet Officer Bai Mass Bah, told him that ‘two people were to be sent home’; that the following morning, he was told by the then IGP that the State House sent him a message that they no longer needed his services.
“It was an Executive Directive that my services had been terminated,” the witness said.
Mbye said ten months later, ERI Jammeh, the then IGP, called him at his office and told him that he has been reinstated as the CMC; that the reason for his reinstatement was to investigate the murder of one ‘Fula’ man, who was killed at the ferry terminal in Banjul.
“My take is that Koro was definitely killed and it was never an accident. The motive of his killing was what he wanted to disclose at the National Assembly. Otherwise there was nothing these people could have done to frighten or silence Koro, other than what they have done to him. My take is that he was definitely murdered,” the witness said.
He said from the deduction of his investigation into the murder of the late Koro Ceesay, he is convinced that he was killed by Yankuba Touray and Edward Singhatey.