By Rohey Jadama
Mr. Baboucarr Njie, the seventh prosecution witness (PW7) in the ongoing trial involving Mr. Yankuba Badjie, the erstwhile Director General of National Intelligence Agency, told the Banjul High Court that he saw Sheikh Omar Jeng (3rdaccused) and others carry the body of Solo Sandeng.
The accused persons are: Yankuba Badjie, Louis Gomez, former Deputy Director, Saikou Omar Jeng, former director of Operations, Haruna Susso, Yusupha Jammeh, Tamba Masireh, Lamin Darboe and Baboucarr Sallah, and Lamin Lang Sanyang. The Court was presided over by Justice Kumba Sillah-Camara.
When the case was called, Lawyers Antouman AB Gaye, Rachel Y Mendy, Lamin S. Camara, Yassin Senghor and Combeh Gaye announced their representation for the state, whilst Lawyers C.E Mene appeared for the 1st accused, Edward A. Gomez for the 2nd accused, Ibrahim Jallow for the 3rd accused, A.Y Hamma for the 4th, 5th, 7th and 8th accused persons, U. Achique for the 6th accused person and also held brief for D. Dayo, Attorney for the 9th accused person. Testifying before Justice Kumba Sillah Camara, Mr. Njie, the head of the Scientific Support Unit and a photographer at the NIA, told the court that he saw Sheikh Omar Jeng (3rd accused) and others carry the body of Solo Sandeng through the back gate of the reception area.
When asked by Lawyer Lamin S. Camara, to describe to the court how they were carrying Solo Sandeng, the witness adduced that the late Solo Sandeng was lifted up and laid on a mattress under a fan. Asked to tell the court who carried what, PW7 responded that some held the hands, some the legs and others the middle part of his body. “From my office window, I heard Sheikh Omar Jeng, communicating with someone, a Doctor. After that we were told that to go home. That was around 3-4am”, said PW7. When asked whether he knew the state Solo Sandeng was when he was laid on a mattress, the witness responded: “To my own understanding I thought he was in coma. What I observed in him was that he was not saying or doing anything”, he said. When asked by Lawyer Camara which Doctor was Sheikh Omar Jeng calling, the witness responded that he didn’t know his name, but he was quick to add that he was calling Doctor Sanyang. Ask whether he will recognize the said Doctor Sanyang if he sees him, the witness responded in the positive. When he was further asked whether he can see Doctor Sanyang from where he was standing, the witness responded in the affirmative. “The next day I was going to the shop and I met Sheikh Omar Jeng at the corridor of the then NIA Headquarters and I asked him how Solo was and he responded that he was okay”, said PW7. When the witness was asked by Barrister Camara whether he can see the following people, the Director General of the NIA Mr. Yankuba Badjie, Louise Gomez, Sheikh Omar Jeng, Tamba Masireh and Doctor Sanyang, from where he was standing, the witness responded in the positive.
At this juncture, Lawyer Camara took leave of the court for the witness to step out of the witness box in order to identify the above mentioned accused persons, which was granted by the court. PW7 identified the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 7th, 8th and 9th accused person by pointing fingers on them one after the other respectively. Under cross-examination, the witness was asked by Lawyer Mene counsel for the 1st accused person, how many meters was his office to the 1st accused person’s office. The witness responded that almost 11meters.
When asked by Lawyer Mene whether it is possible that in fact it was more than 11meters, the witness responded that it was just an estimation. “You said from your window, you saw the 3rd accused person talking to the Doctor. How was he talking?” quizzed Lawyer Mene. The witness responded that the 3rd accused was talking on telephone. “Now was it Mr. Jeng who told you who he was talking to?” The witness answered in the negative but was quick to add that the way he heard him talking, he was talking to Doctor Sanyang. Asked whether the 9th accused told him that he was talking to Mr. Jeng. The witness responded that none of them told him. “Your evidence that you observed that Mr. Jeng was talking to the Doctor was concocted and fabricated”, said Lawyer Mene. “It is not fabricated”, responded the witness.
When asked whether the police visited his office in connection to the matter, the witness responded in the positive, adding that the police visited his office the same day he gave his statement. He further told the court that the police took an external hard drive and conducted a search of his office; that they also searched his desktop. When asked how many police officers visited his office, he responded that it was about six police officers. Lawyer Mene further asked PW7 what was contained in the hard drive that the police took from his office. And the witness replied that the said hard drive contained videos which has connection to this case and so many others. Lawyer Edward Gomez, defence Attorney for the 2ndaccused person also cross-examined PW7 by asking him whether it was his evidence that he saw the Director General and the Deputy Director General sitting down. The witness responded in the positive. “Did you see the DG and the DDG doing anything?” asked Lawyer Gomez. He responded, “No, but he was seated there. “Did you hear him say anything?” quizzed lawyer Gomez. ‘‘Not at that moment”, answered the witness. Lawyers Achique and Hamma, defence Counsel’s for the 6th, 4th, 5th, 7th and 8th respectively told the court that they have no questions for the witness. This prompted Lawyer Lamin Camara to apply for the witness to be discharged, which was granted by the court.
The case continues today 16th January 2018, at 12 noon for the eighth prosecution witness (PW8) to testify.