By Rohey Jadama
Mr. Samba, the eleventh prosecution witness (PW11) and the Deputy Director of Internal Security at NIA, yesterday 26thFebruary 2018, continued with his testimony in the trial of former officials of NIA. 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.
Continuing with his testimony before Justice Kumba Sillah-Camara of the Banjul High Court PW11 said he also worked at the then Gambia Gendarmerie for five years.
“During the interview I could remember the suspects were asked their names, addresses, purpose of the demonstration and political affiliation etc. I cannot remember the other questions asked”, said the witness. When asked by Lawyer Antuman Gaye, the lead Prosecutor what the responses of the suspects were, the witness responded that during the interview, most of them (suspects) were saying they were supporters of UDP and that they were out to demand for electoral reforms. When asked whether a report was prepared by the interview panel, the witness responded in the positive adding that it was submitted to his boss Lamin Fatty, who is now the Director of Political Affairs at SIS.
Responding to questions raised during cross-examination by Lawyer Christopher Mene, Counsel for Yankuba Badjie (1st Accused), the witness told the court that he can’t remember when the 1st accused was appointed.
“I’m putting it to you that the 1st accused was appointed as D.G in 2014?” “I said I have no idea”, responded the witness.
“Is it correct that Alagie Edrissa Jobe was one of your operatives?” enquired Barrister Mene. “Yes he was one of our operatives”, relied the witness.
“Is it correct that Alagie Edrissa Jobe was the Officer Commanding Special Operations?” asked lawyer Mene. “No idea about that”, responded the witness.
“Infact Haruna Suso was the Officer Commanding Special Operations before Yankuba Badjie became D.G.” quizzed Lawyer Mene. “I know him to be the O.C Special Operations during Yankuba Badjie’s time as D.G”, responded the witness.
“I’m putting it to you that on the 14th of April 2016, there was a Director of Special Operations in the name of Pa Ebrima Faye”, quizzed Lawyer Mene. “No idea about that”, replied the witness.
“But you do know Pa Ebrima Faye?” “Yes”, answered the witness.
“I’m putting it to you that your evidence that the 1st accused who only became the D.G in 2014 created the Special Operations Unit, is not true?” “That’s the truth”, responded the witness.
“During the interview the door to the interview hall was it opened at any material time?” “It was closed”, replied the witness.
Also responding to questions during cross-examination from Lawyer Patrick Gomez, Defence Attorney for Louis Gomez (2nd accused), the witness was asked whether there was anything illegal about preparing questions for interview. The witness responded ‘‘Maybe.’’ That if he is given an unlawful order he will not do it because of the consequences.
“And was the order for preparing the questionnaire unlawful?” asked Lawyer Gomez. “That’s why I said maybe because I wasn’t briefed’’, the witness said.
“So you refused an order before you were briefed?” “Not at all”, answered the witness.
“Is it that you refused an order after you were briefed?” “I said I was never briefed”, maintained the witness.
“Did you ask any questions during the interview?” “No”, replied the witness.
Responding to questions from Lawyer Ibrahim Jallow, Counsel for Sheikh Omar Jeng (3rd accused), the witness responded that he didn’t prepare any questionnaire; that Sheikh Omar Jeng (3rd accused) voluntarily said he will prepare the questions.
“I put it to you that you were briefed to prepare the questions but you refuse to do so.” said Lawyer Jallow. “No” replied the witness.
“Were you there when Shiekh Omar Jeng was preparing questions?” “No, I wasn’t there”.
“How do you know that he prepared the questions?” “He prepared it and gave it to my boss Lamin Fatty who later gave it to me”, responded the witness.
“There was no way that you can know the questions were prepared by the 3rd accused when you were not around?” “I know that the questions were prepared by Sheikh Omar Jeng”, replied the witness.
“How?” “Through my boss Lamin Fatty”, said the witness. “Do you consider yourself as a witness of truth?” “Yes I am a witness of truth”, responded the witness.
At this stage the presiding Judge adjourned the case to today 27th February 2018 at 1pm, for continuation of the cross-examination of the witness by the Lawyer for the 3rd accused.