Witness denies being used to avert being prosecuted in the NIA trial

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Malang Sonko, an official of the State Intelligence Service (SIS) has denied defence’s claim that he was used as a prosecution witness against nine former officials of the defunct National Intelligence Agency (NIA) to avoid being prosecuted by the police.

Malang Sonko, the 12th prosecution witness in the ongoing trial involving the State against the nine former officials of the defunct NIA made this disclosure whilst responding to questions posed to him by defence lawyer C.E. Mene the counsel for Yankuba Badjie, the 1st accused person, yesterday, 5th of March 2018 before Justice Kumba Sillah-Camara of High Court in Banjul.

The cross examination of the witness which was punctuated with series of objections from the prosecution team which anchored their objections to the 1st accused person counsel line of questioning.

The prosecution team led by Antouman A.B. Gaye concurred that the sky is the limit during cross examination but queried that defence counsel Mene was engaging in goose chase and asking questions which have no bearing or relevance to the issue before the court.

Questions like where the witness got his academic or vocational certificates and the witness claim that he made the architectural design of a storey building inside the NIA complex in Banjul or the witness qualification on structural or civil engineering, Lawyer Gaye submitted have no bearing with the issue before the court but waste the court time.

However, defence counsel C.E. Mene’s line of questioning during cross examination aim to discredit the witness by punching the witness with questions to the prove the veracity of his testimony.

Defence Counsel C.E. Mene after making reference to the witness statement where the witness made an allegation regarding the beating of Nogho Njie, he was then asked that he only came to the court to testify against the nine accused persons in return for not being prosecuted.

This question was meant with stiff reply by the prosecution team led A.A.B. Gaye who argued that Lawyer Mene was giving evidence but not cross examining the witness.

The witness testified that he joined the NIA in 2013 and worked in a construction company before joining the NIA.

The witness maintained that he normally stayed for his boss, Omar Bojang and the 1st accused person, Yankuba Badjie to close before he closes from work.

The witness testified that one of the reasons he stayed beyond his closing time on the 14th of April, 2016, was not due to investigation into the UDP demonstration but was entirely due to technical services.

The witness told the court that after he had problem with Tamba Mansary, the 7th accused person, he went back to his office and stayed till about 3-4 a.m. before he went home.

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

Author: Bruce Asemota