By Rohey Jadama
Mr. Pa Serign Mboob, a National Intelligence Agency (NIA) Officer Tuesday told the Banjul High court that he heard Nogoi Njie saying ‘‘give me chance to tie my wrapper.’’
Mr. Mboob, a resident of Sanchaba Sulay Jobe, was testifying as the tenth prosecution witness (PW10) before Justice Kumba Sillah-Camara in the ongoing trial of Yankuba Badjie, the former Director of NIA and eight others. The other accused persons in the case are 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.
PW10 told the court that he is an NIA officer stationed at the investigation Unit of the NIA headquarters in Banjul and joined the NIA in 2015.
He adduced that on the 14th of April 2016, he was on duty at the NIA. “As we were about to close, I was informed by my OC Lamin Cessay that I have to be on stand by and wait as they are bringing some people to the conference hall for me to interview; that was between 5 to 6 in the evening”. He said they stayed there and waited at the conference hall until 8pm and he decided to go out and stretch his legs. “Immediately I stepped my foot on the veranda, I heard a lady crying saying in Mandinka, ‘Aling Soo ngana fano siti’ meaning give me chance to tie my wrapper”, said officer Mboob.
When asked by Lawyer Antouman Gaye, the lead prosecutor whether he saw the lady, the witness responded in the positive, adding that it was few meters from where he was standing. When asked how the lady appeared, the witness said the lady was tired and crying. “I didn’t see any wrapper on her. She was naked. I later knew her to be Nogoi Njie”, said the witness. He continued: “At that moment I saw Tamba Mansireh going towards the lady. As he reached the lady, he wanted to kick her. He then fell down and after he got up, he took out an object from his pocket and started beating the lady”, the witness said. He said at this point, Tamba Mansireh was seen smiling. According to PW10, at this point he went back to the conference hall. When asked whether he knew Tamba Mansireh, the witness responded that he will recognize him if he sees him. When asked whether Tamba Mansireh was inside the court, the witness responded in the affirmative.
At this point Lawyer Gaye took leave from the court for the witness to step out of the dock and identify Tamba Mansireh, which was granted. The witness walked up to where the accused person was seated and identified Tamba Mansireh, the 8th accused person by pointing at him.
At this point the case was adjourned to today 7th February 2018 at 12 noon for continuation of the evidence in chief of PW10.
Earlier, continuing with the cross-examination of PW9, Mr. Kebba Secka, Lawyer Christopher Mene asked the witness whether he made a written statement to the police on the 5th day of June 2017 and the witness responded in the positive. A copy of the statement was shown to him and after going through it, the witness identified it. Lawyer Mene at this point applied to tender the said statement as a defence exhibit. Without any objection from the prosecution team, the said statement dated 5th June 2017, was admitted and marked as defence exhibit A6.
The witness was further asked whether he made a new witness statement in November 2017 and he responded in the positive. A copy of the said statement was shown to him and he identified it as same. Lawyer Mene again applied to tender it. There was no objection from the prosecution team. Consequently, the trial judge admitted and marked the new witness statement as defence exhibit A7. “Mr. Secka is it correct that defence exhibit A7 was made more than a year and seven months after you conducted the interview?” Lawyer Mene asked. “That’s correct”, the witness responded.
“You will agree with me that the incident of the interview was fresher in your memory when you wrote defence exhibit A6 in 2017, than a statement you made 6 months later in November, 2017,” Mene said. “Yes”, responded the witness.
“Mr. Secka why was it necessary to make a new witness statement in November, 2017?” asked Mene. “It was an additional statement”, the witness responded.
“Why was it necessary to write an additional statement?” pressed Lawyer Mene. “It was necessary simply because the first statement was not brief enough to explain what happened during the interview”, responded the witness.
The witness asked, “Mr. Secka who told you your first statement was not brief enough?”
“It was the prosecuting team”, responded the witness.
The defence lawyer said, “I’m putting it to you that it was not the responsibility of the prosecuting team to direct you to make any statement?’’
However, before the witness could answer the question, Lawyer Camara objected arguing that the question should not be allowed because the witness did not say that the prosecuting team took a statement from him. He cited section 233 of the criminal procedure code (CPC) and urged the court to sustain the objection and disallow the question.
Responding to the objection, Lawyer Mene maintained that the argument of his learned friend and the section that he cited is irrelevant. He further argued that the issue is not the powers of the prosecuting team. He finally urged the court to overrule the objection and allow the witness to answer the question.
However, the objection was sustained and the said question was disallowed.
“Mr. Secka is it what you are asked to write that you wrote in defence exhibit A7?”, quizzed Lawyer Mene. “I wrote exactly what happened during the interview on the additional statement at the Major Crimes Unit of the Gambia Police Force”, responded the witness.
“Mr. Secka l’m putting it to you that what you wrote in exhibit A7 was not what happened?” “That’s not correct”, answered the witness.
At this point Lawyer Mene told the court that it was all that he had for the witness. There was no question from the rest of the defence team.
Consequently, the witness was discharged and PW10 was called to testify.