Yankuba Badjie & co trial progresses

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

The criminal trial involving the State and eight former senior officials of the defunct National Intelligence Agency (NIA), continued yesterday before presiding judge, Kumba Sillah-Camara at the High Court in Banjul.

The accused persons: Yankuba Badjie, Louie Richard Leese Gomez, Sheikh Omar Jeng, Babucarr Sallah, Haruna Susso, Tamba Mansaray, Lamin Darboe and Lamin Lang Sanyang are standing trial on a 26 counts including conspiracy to murder, murder, assault causing grievous bodily harm, abduction, making false document without proper authority amongst others.

Lamin Jobarteh, the 21st prosecution witness testified before the court and was cross examined by lawyer Ibrahim Jallow, defence counsel for the 3rd accused, Sheikh Omar Jeng after which the matter was adjourned for further cross examination and hearing.

In his testimony, the witness, a security officer at the defunct NIA now State Intelligence Service told the court that in April, 2016 he was posted to the NIA facility in Tanji.

The witness further told the court that whilst there in the early hours of the 15th of April, 2016, Lamin Bojang scaled the fence and opened the main entrance gate and Dawda Ndure (Pw2) asked him whether the Chief Security, James Mendy didn’t call him and he replied in the negative.

Lamin Jobarteh disclosed that he saw Dawda Ndure and some other people go behind the banana plantation and began digging but the place was very hard.

He pointed out that the people he saw with Dawda Ndure were Buba Njie, Lamin Bojang, Malafi Jarju, Ngor Secka Ngor and Ansumana and some other people he cannot recall.

The witness testified that he was instructed by Dawda Ndure to stand at the main entrance gate so as to open the gate for Shekh Omar Jeng, the 3rd accused person and his team.

Lamin Jobarteh told the court that after a while, he saw three pick-up vans enter the premises and on board the vehicles were Sheikh Omar Jeng, Babucarr Sallah, Haruna Susso, Tamba Mansaray, Lamin Darboe, and Lamin Lang Sanyang.

The witness further told the court that when he opened the gate, Sheikh Omar Jeng asked him whether the people were ready and he replied that he doesn’t know and they drove into the premises.

The witness disclosed that after sometime, Sheikh Omar Jeng assembled the personnel and warned every one present to keep what transpired a secret, adding that if what happened there is known outside it is going to be from them.

He revealed that whilst he was standing at a verandah, Sheikh Omar Jeng instructed the vehicles to go and that after they left, he then visited the site and inferred that somebody was buried there.

The witness told the court that he closed around 8:00 a.m. on that fateful day (15th of April, 2016) and when he got home, he heard that Solo Sandeng had been killed.

Lamin Jobarteh disclosed that Sheikh Omar Jeng came with the police to exhume the body of Solo Sandeng.

At this juncture, the witness was asked to step out of the witness box to identify Sheikh Omar Jeng, Babucarr Sallah, Haruna Susso, Tamba Mansaray, Lamin Darboe and Lamin Lang Sanyang if they were inside the courtroom.

Lamin Jobarteh stepped out of the witness box and identified the six accused persons.

Responding to questions posed by lawyer Ibrahim Jallow, defence counsel for the 3rd accused person: Sheikh Omar Jeng, Lamin Jobarteh told the court that he had known Sheikh Omar Jeng since 2004.

Lamin Jobarteh admitted that he made a statement to the police in respect of this matter.

The witness told the court that at the time Sheikh Omar Jeng and the other five accused persons came there he didn’t know who was buried there but later learnt that it was Solo Sandeng that was buried there.

The witness disclosed that about ten police officers were present during the exhumation of Solo Sandeng’s remains and one Kebba Susso was among the police officers.

Lamin Jobarteh told the court that he now remembered that Leon Gomez was among the people who came with Dawda Ndure and others to the Tanji NIA facility to dig.

Author: Bruce Asemota