By Yankuba Jallow/Mustapha Jallow
Yankuba Touray, a former AFPRC junta member and Minister who held various portfolios under Yahya Jammeh’s twenty-two-year Presidency, was on Monday March 4th 2019, arraigned before the Kanifing Magistrates Court on a single criminal charge, which he denied and was granted bail.
Touray was part of the then Armed Forces Provincial Ruling Council (AFPRC), who established military rule for two years, after overthrowing the former PPP Government. He was arrested on Saturday March 2nd 2019, in connection with an allegation made by witness Alagie Kanyi, whilst testifying before the TRRC.
When the case was called before Magistrate Isatou Janneh-Njie, ASP A. Manga and ASP M.L. Jallow announced their appearance for the Inspector General of Police, whilst A. Sisoho represented the accused person. When the charge sheet was read by the clerk, the accused denied culpability.
The accused person is charged with a single count of interfering with informants or witnesses of the TRRC, contrary to Section 36 (a) of Truth Reconciliation and Reparations Commission Act, 2017.
According to the particulars of offence, ‘the accused person on or about 5th January, 2019 in Kanifing and diverse places within the jurisdiction of the Court, with intent to obstruct or interfere with the work of the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC), called Alhagie Kanyi, a potential witness of TRRC through his Africell number, and told him that he should not mind the Commission, because they cannot do anything,’ which acts suggest or amounts to interfering with the work of the Commission, in the discharge of its function, thereby committed an offence.
Touray pleaded not guilty to the charge, which prompted his attorney Abdoulie Sisoho, to apply for his client to be granted bail by the Court, in order to prepare himself for a fair trial under the protection of the law. The defence lawyer relied on Sections 24 of the Constitution and Section 99 (1) of the Criminal Procedure Code. He submitted that the offence charged is a bailable one.
In response to the Counsel’s submission, Assistant Superintendent of police (ASP) Manga argued that the offence is bailable but is a serious one; that he would respect the Court’s decision in the event it wants to grant bail.
In her ruling, the presiding magistrate granted the accused person bail in the sum of one million dalasi and ordered him to produce two Gambian sureties, who shall deposit title deeds of landed properties within the Greater Banjul Area. The Court called on the accused person not to interfere in the TRRC proceedings in the future and that he should not travel outside the jurisdiction of the Court. The trial Magistrate further ruled that the sureties must depose an affidavit of means and should deposit their ID card to the registrar of the Courts. She finally ruled that the accused person must swear to an affidavit of means not to interfere with the case or witnesses of the TRRC.
The case was adjourned to March 11th 2019, at 10:00 am for hearing.