By Rohey Jadama
Justice Kumba Sillah-Camara of the Banjul High Court yesterday 28th March 2018, granted the prosecution’s notice for additional witness, in the trial of nine top officials of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA).
The accused persons are Yankuba Badjie, Louis Gomez, former Deputy Director, Saikou Omar Jeng, former director of Operations, Baboucarr Sallah, Haruna Susso, Yusupha Jammeh, Tamba Masireh, Lamin Darboe and Lamin Lang Sanyang.
The 9 are standing trial on twenty-five counts ranging from murder, causing grievous bodily harm, accessory to facts of murder, conspiracy to commit felony, fraudulently preparing a death certificate, forgery, making documents without authority, fabricating evidence, disobedience to statutory order and abduction. In a marathon ruling, the trial judge overruled the defence’s objection for a notice of additional witness.
Testifying as the fourteenth prosecution witness (PW14), Seedy Saidy Bah told the court that he lives in Sukuta and worked at the security unit of the NIA as Second in command.
While responding to questions by Prosecutor Rachel Y. Mendy, the witness adduced that in 2016, he worked for 24 hours; that he was responsible for the opening and closing of the main gate of NIA compound; that on the 14th of April 2016, Mbemba Camara and himself were at the main gate, whilst Barra was at the back gate.
“I Came to work on the 14th April and closed on the 15thApril at 8am in the morning. On that day Mbemba Camara, Barra Gaye and myself, were at work. We were at the gate when I saw the Operations vehicle. When the vehicle came in, I left my office to open the gate”, the witness said. When asked who the head of the Operations Unit was at the time, the witness responded that Sheikh Omar Jeng, the 3rd accused person, was the head of the unit.
“When the vehicles arrived, I opened the gate but there were people sitting behind the vehicle. The first vehicle had four people, excluding the driver. The second vehicle had three people”, he said.
When asked by Lawyer Mendy whether he knew the seven people at the time they were brought to the NIA, the witness responded in the negative.
“Upon their arrival, they came to my office. That was the time I know them. They were Solo Sandeng, Ebrima Jabang, Kafu Bayo, Modou Ngum, Nogoi Njie, Fatoumatta Camara and Fatoumatta Jawara. When Baba Danso brought them, he told me to go and call my boss (James Mendy) which I did. When he arrived, Baba Danso left. When James came, Baboucarr Sallah and Tamba Mansireh were there. They told me that they want to take Solo Sandeng, Nogoi Njie and others inside”, said the witness.
He went on: “Baboucarr Sallah and Tamba Masireh told Solo that he should leave all his items there because they are taking him inside”. He said Solo put his hand in his pocket and took out money, mentolatum, roll on spray and a “chewing stick”.
PW14 said when the seven-people entered inside, he took their names and particulars; that this was how he knew them; that the book where their names were recorded is called the detainee book.
“When they took out their belongings I confirm it and Camara entered it by writing it”, said the witness.
The case was adjourned to the 16th and 23rd of April 2018 at 1pm, for continuation of PW14’s testimony and for further hearing.