May 11, 2011, 3:34 PM
Justice Emmanuel Nkea of the Special Criminal Court yesterday convicted and sentenced former police chief, Ensa Badjie, Lt Col Mam Matarr Secka and Major Kuluteh Manneh to a ten-year mandatory jail term.
The three former senior security officers were convicted and sentenced under a 51-count, which included drugs-related offences.
It would be recalled that Ensa Badjie is serving a life sentence, after he was convicted by the same court for robbery-related offences.
Delivering the ruling yesterday, which marked the end of the more than two years legal battle, Justice Nkea stated that in denying all the charges against him, the 1st accused described the charges as a fabrication and a fight from his own people aimed at getting him out of office as IGP.
The 2nd accused also denied the charges against him, adding that he could not have played the role of a pilot in the deal, because he had no previous training in that regard, while the third accused denied the charges and described the charges as malicious and false.
Justice Nkea then went through the evidence as adduced before the court, as well as the charges preferred against the accused persons.
He said that according to the evidence, there was a consensus on both sides that, at all material times to the action, the 1st , 2nd and 3rd accused persons were all employed in the public service, as the Inspector General of Police, a lieutenant colonel and a major with the Gambia Armed Forces respectively.
They were, therefore, public servants, he said.
He said for the 1st accused, there was overwhelming and unchallenged evidence that he received 100 bags of cement from one Willi Abraham, 75 pieces of iron rods from Ousainou Tayudeen, 500 bags of cement and D50,000 from Amadou Samba, and a set of household furniture from Sillaba Samateh.
That the 1st accused received all these items from people who knew him as the Inspector General of Police, was also not disputed, he added.
The 100 bags of cement were given to the 1st accused as gratification for having permitted Willi to use a vehicle with tinted glasses,” Justice Nkea said in his judgment.
He added that the 1st accused had issued the permit while performing his official duties as Inspector General of Police, and he knew that the 100 bags of cement were given to him as gratification for the performance of his official duties as Inspector General of Police.
The 1st accused overtly solicited for assistance from Ousainou Tajudeen, who knew him as the Inspector General of Police. There was no evidence that the 1st accused was performing any official duty at the time he made the request,” he said.
He added that the demand, therefore, offended the sense of probity that goes with the Office of Inspector General of Police as it was inappropriate, and prejudicial to the rights of Tajudeen.
The demand, therefore, constituted an arbitrary act which he shall hold as a fact, he said.
For Amadou Samba, the judge went on, there was compelling evidence which was corroborated by the 1st accused himself that he received 500 bags of cement and D50,000 from him, adding that while there was evidence that all these demands were made and the items received when the 1st accused was the Inspector General of Police, there was also no evidence that 1st accused was performing any officials duty at the time he made the request.
It is evident that the demand and the eventual donation were not only inappropriate on the part of the 1st accused, but were also prejudicial to the rights of Amadou Samba,” he said.
The 3rd accused got involved when he was introduced to the group by the 2nd accused who asked that the 3rd accused should stand in for him as he wanted to travel. From that time the 3rd accused was said to be actively involved in the transaction,” he stated.
The participation of the 2nd accused in the meeting at Tranquil and the fact that he never opposed or objected to the ideas brought forward by the 1st accused leads to the conclusion that he tacitly approved of same.
There was strong evidence that the various sums of money received from different persons who wanted to buy the purported cocaine were all shared between PW1, 1st accused, 2nd accused, Edrissu and on some occasions with the 3rd accused inclusive, the judge said.