ASP Domingo Mbemba testifies in NIA 9 trial

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

ASP Domingo Mbemba on Monday testified as the sixth prosecution witness in the criminal trial involving the embattled nine former officials of the defunct NIA before presiding Judge Kumba Sillah-Camara of the High Court in Banjul.

The accused persons: Yankuba Badjie, Richards Loiue Leese Gomez, Sheihk Omar Jeng, Babucar Sallah, Yusupha Jammeh, Haruna Susso, Mansaray Tamba, Lamin Darboe and Lamin Lang Sanyang are being tried on multiple counts including conspiracy to murder, murder, assault causing grievous bodily harm, abduction, making false documents without proper authority amongst others.

In his evidence in chief before the court, ASP Domingo Mbemba recalled that on 14 April 2016, he was instructed by the CMC, Abubacarr Sarr to constitute a police panel and join the NIA officials at the NIA headquarters in Banjul to conduct a background checking and screening of the detainees.

The witness revealed that after the panel was duly formed, they went to the NIA headquarters in Banjul and upon arrival, as they were about to begin the screening exercise, he was called by the deputy director general of the NIA, Richards Louie Leese Gomez that the team should go back to the Police Headquarters and that they would be informed to come whenever they are needed.

The witness explained that it was only the defunct NIA officials that conducted the background screening and checking of the detainees.

The witness said the background screening and checking involves asking the detainees questions and filling forms and obtaining statements.

He further said the first and only person that was brought was a man but he couldn’t remember his name.

The witness revealed that he was led by one of the junior NIA officials whom he couldn’t recognise in the court.

Responding to questions during cross-examination by counsel for the 1st accused, Lawyer C.E. Mene, the witness told the court that he served as a prosecution witness during the trial of the UDP protesters.

The witness said he was aware that the protesters were convicted and sentenced but he wasn’t responsible for their conviction and sentence by the court.

He told the court that he went to the NIA headquarters in his official capacity and not in his personal capacity, adding that NIA was a sister security service like the police but with different mode of operation.

The witness pointed out that it was usual or normal that the police and the NIA collaborate and conduct joint investigations.

Responding to questions posed by Lawyer Patrick Gomez, defence counsel for the 2nd accused, Richard Loiue Leese Gomez, the witness disclosed that he never signed any document indicating his presence at the NIA headquarters.

He explained that if the video footage was shown to the court, it would indicate that he was at the NIA with his team.

The witness said he was called by an unknown NIA officer who escorted him to the former deputy director general of NIA.

Hearing continues.

Author: Bruce Asemota