Solo Sandeng was the suspect interviewed when ex-NIA boss stood at the door - Witness Tells Court

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Kebba Secka, the 9th prosecution witness in the ongoing criminal trial involving the State against nine former officials of the defunct NIA has told the High Court in Banjul, presided over by Justice Kumba Sillah-Camara has said that it was the late Solo Sandeng that he was interviewing at the hall when Yankuba Badjie (1st accused) stood at the door and repeated the question he asked the suspect (Solo Sandeng).

Kebba Secka made this disclosure yesterday while responding to questions posed to him by defence counsel, C.E. Mene for the 1st accused, Yankuba Badjie during cross examination.

It could be recalled that Yankuba Badjie, Louie Richard Leese Gomez, Sheihk Omar Jeng, Babucarr Sallah, Yusupha Jammeh, Haruna Susso, Tamba Mansary, Lamin Darboe and Lamni Lang Sanyang are charged with 26 counts including conspiracy to murder, murder, assault causing grievous bodily harm, abduction, making false documents without proper authority among others.

During yesterday’s sitting, Lawyer C.E. Mene, counsel for the 1st accused; Yankuba Badjie continued cross examination of the 9th witness, Kebba Secka.

The witness was asked if he was a practicing Muslim. This question was objected to by State prosecutor, L.S. Camara on the grounds that the question was scandalous and intended to annoy the witness.

Lawyer Mene argued that the question was not scandalous, adding that the witness told the court that he is a Muslim and the court has the right to find out whether the witness is a nominal Muslim or a practicing Muslim.

The presiding judge in her ruling disclosed that the question was not scandalous but she disallowed the question.

The witness admitted that as he has sworn to the Holy Koran, he is duty bound to speak the truth and nothing but the truth in the case.

The witness told the court that the interview of the suspects took place on the fateful day the incident happened and it was between 19:00 hours and 20:00 hours.

He said the interview session virtually ended around 01:00 hours in the morning and it was possible the interview ended later than that time.

The witness further said he could not remember the number of suspects interviewed and the panelists were given 10 questions to ask the suspects.

The witness testified that he could not remember what many of the suspects interviewed told the panel in the course of the interview that they were arrested by the paramilitary or PIU officers.

The witness further testified that he could not remember that during the course of the interview if any of the suspects complained that they were beaten or tortured by any NIA officer.

The witness told the court in his evidence in chief that he did testify that he realised that the 3rd accused, Sheikh Omar Jeng was present when he said Fatoumatta Jawara should be assisted to sit properly.

The witness further told the court that apart from repeating his questions or assisting or helping Fatoumatta Jawara to sit properly, none of the accused persons did do anything during the course of the interview.

The witness disclosed that during the course of the interview, none of the suspects were beaten or tortured in the conference hall or during the interview.

The witness confirmed that one of the suspects he interviewed was the late Solo Sandeng.

The witness told the court that none of his agents did something to Solo Sandeng at the hall or at the interview hall that could have resulted in his death.

The witness further told the court that he interviewed Solo Sandeng when the 1st accused, Yankuba Badjie was at the door.

Kebba Secka said though he cannot remember the question he asked Solo Sandeng which the 1st accused repeated at the door and the 1st accused after appearing at the door, left at some point.

The witness informed the court that at no time at the interview hall did he see anyone tie the neck, head, legs or the body of Solo Sandeng.

The witness told the court that he joined NIA in 1997 and was tortured at the NIA in 2007 by some of his colleagues like Alhagie Edrissa Jobe whom he said was not among the accused persons at this trial.

The witness informed the court that Yankuba Badjie became the director general of NIA in 2014.

Hearing continues today.

Author: Bruce Asemota