Friday, November 15, 2019

AT THE COURT MARTIAL: Soldier on trial at court-martial not bothered with allegation against him

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By Kebba Secka  

Lance Corporal Private Lamin Kujabi, has told the General Court Martial held at Yundum Military Barracks that he was not worried after being informed of the reason for his arrest by the O/C of Fajara Barracks, Babucarr Ngom. The witness said when he enquired for the reason(s) for his arrest, he was told that he conspired with some members of the Gambia Armed Forces in a ‘WhatsApp’ group with an intention to overthrow the Government of the day.

When the case was called before a panel of Senior Military Officers guided by Judge Advocate Zainab Jawara Alami, AN Yusuf with A. Njie appeared for the state and O. Suso with Abdoulie Conteh, Major Bassirou Sarr, Major Mustapha Badjie, and Major Yusupha Jammeh, announced their representation for the accused persons.

“Why didn’t you see it as a problem?” asked Defense Counsel O. Suso.

“Yes, because I know I was clean,” answered DW 2 Kujabi. Asked whether that was the reason why he did not hold the allegations serious, DW2 answered in the positive adding: “I know the allegation was false.” The witness further told the Court that when he returned from the foreign mission in Darfur on the 21st March 2018, he was arrested and taken by Lt Muhammad Manneh and Sainey Camara; that none of the two were able to tell him the reason(s) for his arrest except that they were acting on instruction. O. Suso asked him to tell the Court the telephone number he used whilst in Darfur. Kujabi gave the number as 113012060, which he said was the GSM line he used whilst on a peace keeping mission in Darfur.

“Were you using any different number apart from this one?” asked Defense Counsel Suso. The witness answered in the affirmative further explaining that he was not using any smartphone; that a friend in Darfur offered him a tablet with a fault screen which he could not use and and cannot communicate back home. Kujabi when asked to tell the Court what he thinks about the allegations against him, answered that he denied any wrong doing.

During cross examination by State Counsel Yusuf, DW 2 was asked whether he was the Chief Clerk of the Gambian Contingent (Gamcoy 20) in Darfur, and he answered in the affirmative. Asked to tell the Court whether he was the only clerk for the contingent, DW2 answered that there were three personnelles who were served as clerk for the contingent.

“We were only three who served as clerk,” he told the Court. Asked he was part of intake 29A, the witness answered in the positive. “Before you were deployed to Darfur, were you serving at the One Infantry Batallion?” asked Yusuf. The witness answered in the positive confirming that he served as Clerk. The witness was asked to tell the Court his regimental number and he read it as: “14534.” Asked by Yusuf whether as a Clerk in Darfur, he did know the number of the Gambian contingent, the witness said the exact number was two hundred and eight (208). “As a Clerk, you must have seen the nominal roll of the contingent you travel with,” asked State Counsel. The witness answered in the positive saying he does know.

At this stage, Yusuf asked the witness to look at the nominal document. Defense Counsel O. Suso objected arguing that the document (nominal roll of soldiers) was not before the Court and the prosecution has not followed due procedures to tender the document before Court; that State Counsel Yusuf cannot asked the witness a question in a document, which content is not before the Court. State Counsel Yusuf further argued that the document has already been gazetted and he needed the witness to look at the content of the last page. He urged the Court to overrule the objection of the Defense Counsel as he did not properly put his objection before the Court.

According to Yusuf, the Defense Counsel was rather telling the Court, instead of following due procedure of laying an objection.

During ruling, the judge advocate overruled the objection saying the Defense Counsel has not properly objected to the question and held that the witness should answer the question.

“Did Maila Jobe ever punish you as his subordinate?” asked Yusuf.

“It has never happened,” DW 2 answered.

The case was then adjourned for continuation on Monday 25th February 2019, at 10am.

It could be recall that Lance Corporal Private Lamin Kujabi and WO1 Sulaiman Badjie, have been arraigned before a General Court Martial in November 2018, charged with mutiny, incitement to mutiny and endeavouring to persuade members of the Gambia Armed Forces, to take part in mutiny. The accused has since denied any wrong doing.

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