Yankuba Badjie asked me to identify five protesters, says witness

Friday, December 08, 2017

Assistant Commissioner Abdoulie Sanneh has informed the High Court in Banjul presided over by Justice Kumba Sillah-Camara that Yankuba Badjie, the former Director General of the defunct NIA that he (Yankuba) instructed him to identify five protesters in the 14 April 2016 protest at Westfield.

The witness made this revelation whilst testifying under cross-examination by defence counsel for Yankuba Badjie, lawyer C.E. Mene on Wednesday before the High Court.

It would be recalled that the witness, Abdoulie Sanneh, testified on 7 November 2017, as the 3rd witness in the ongoing trial involving nine former officials of the defunct NIA charged with multiple offences including conspiracy to murder, assault causing grievous bodily harm, murder, abduction, making false document without proper authority amongst others.

The accused persons are Yankuba Badjie, Richards Loiue Leese Gomez, Sheihk Omar Jeng, Babucar Sallah, Yusupha Jammeh, Haruna Susso, Tamba Mansaray, Lamin Darboe and Lamin Lang Sanyang.

The witness told the court that he was scared when the 1st accused, Yankuba Badjie asked him to identify five people among the protesters at Westfield on 14 April 2016.

The witness further told the court that he was afraid that he never thought that Yankuba Badjie would talk to him and having given him instruction, he (the witness) dare not disobey the instruction.

The witness said he identified Solo Sandeng, Nogho Njie and Modou Ngum as part of the protesters and not as ring leaders of the protesters at Westfield.

The Assistant Commissioner said that it was standard practice that when people are arrested, their phones are collected depending on the sensitivity of the case.

The witness revealed that he gave his mobile phone to one Yabo from Busumbala Village and thereafter to Solo Sandeng before the arrival of service chiefs at the PIU headquarters where they were detained.

The witness further revealed that he gave his phone to Solo Sandeng twice to make calls and he also collected D3,500 from Solo to give to someone.

When put to the witness that it was improper as a senior police officer to give his phone to a detainee and also collect money from a detainee and be running errands without taking permission from his superior, the witness replied that it was a matter of respect for one another.

The witness told the court that he never saw any PIU officer on board the pick-up vehicle that took the five detainees to the NIA headquarters in Banjul.

The witness debunked defence claim that his evidence that the arresting PIU officers were throwing the detainees into the truck was an exaggeration.

The witness said he was called by the then IGP, Yankuba Sonko to brief him about the situation at Westfield and as at the time he was briefing the then IGP, the commissioner of PIU and the team leader who went to effect arrest of the detainees were present.

The witness told the court that it was not true that his evidence was calculated to shift the action of the police to the 1st accused or the NIA.

Assistant Commissioner Sanneh said when he was asked by the 1st accused to identify five people among whom was Solo Sandeng, Nogho Njie and Modou Ngum, the then IGP, Yankuba Sonko was speechless.

Defence lawyer C.E. Mene referred the witness to his evidence that the witness stated that Solo Sandeng was looking fit and healthy when he was boarding the pick-up van bound for the NIA headquarters in Banjul after their arrest and then lawyer Mene asked him if he has any medical qualification.

The witness replied that he could judge from the look of Solo Sandeng that he was fit but doesn’t need to have medical qualification to attest to the fitness of Solo Sandeng at the time of his arrest.

Assistant commissioner Abdoulie Sanneh told the court that he has never heard of the saying “you cannot judge a book by its cover” when it was put to him if he has ever heard of such maxim by defence counsel Mene.

The witness, who burst into tears, however told the court that he regretted identifying Solo Sandeng as the ring leader of the protest to the 1st accused, Yankuba Badjie.

Hearing continues on Monday 11 December 2017.

Author: Bruce Asemota