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Bun Sanneh opens defence

Oct 26, 2011, 1:22 PM | Article By: Malamin Conteh

Ibrahim Bun Sanneh, former executive director of the National Drug Enforcement Agency (NDEA), yesterday opened his defence at the Special Criminal Court in Banjul before Justice Emmanuel Nkea.

Bun told the court he lives at Tallanding and was the former director of the NDEA, adding that he was the first director of the NDEA.

“I assumed the office of the executive director of the National Drug Enforcement Agency in 2005, he testified, adding he was the coordinator of the drug control council for six years and was the secretary general of the youth front against drugs and alcohol abuse.

He said the NDEA was established in 2005, and as he was the first director, he was very much familiar with the way the personnel were recruited.

He told the court that he knew the 2nd accused person, Commissioner Karamo Bojang, who was third in command in 2005, when Modou Gaye was his deputy, adding that Karamo became the deputy at the NDEA, when Gaye was appointed deputy Inspector General of Police.

Bun also told the court that he knew the 3rd accused person, Ousman Sanneh, and the fourth accused person, Seedou Bojang, who was director of finance at the NDEA.

He added that the NDEA has a governing board whose function was provided for in the Act, and a senior management team.

He said the senior management team included himself, the 2nd accused, Commissioner Karamo Bojang, the third accused, Commissioner Ousman Sanneh, Commissioner Kalilou Njie and Commissioner Ensa Sarr.

He said the board members are PS Ministry of Interior; the CDS of the Army Forces, IGP, and the director general of the NIA, the Solicitor General, and the Chief Pharmacist representing the Ministry of Health, adding that he (Bun) served as the board secretary.

Still in his defence, Bun Sanneh told the court that the governing board played the part of advising the director of the NDEA in matters relating to the well-being of the NDEA officers, complement the efforts of the NDEA, and also to advise the Gambia government in matters relating to drugs through the NDEA, when the need arose.

“I call the senior management team and discuss the challenges confronting the NDEA,” he stated, adding any matter that could not be handled by the senior management team would be referred to the board.

“The idea of a plea bargain was initiated by the former Attorney General Sheikh Tijan Hydara, when a national workshop was organized inviting all the magistrates at the Atlantic Hotel,” Bun Sanneh told the court.

He added that then the NDEA did not have the mandate to prosecute drugs-related cases, and even today not all the drug cases are prosecuted by the NDEA.

He explained the procedure of plea bargaining, and that it was done when the offender was arrested and the investigation was conducted, and the person pleaded guilty in the presence of his or her counsel.

Then the senior management team would discuss the terms and conditions by considering the Act; if the offender was arrested for trafficking and pleaded guilty voluntary, he said.

The offender would be charged with being in possession, and after the agreement the proposal would be sent to the board, Sanneh said, adding the board then fixed the amount to the advantage of the NDEA.

Hearing continues today.  

Ibrahim Bun Sanneh, former NDEA Executive Director, Karamo Bojang, former Deputy Chief of the Agency, Ousman Sanneh, former Commissioner of Operations of the Agency, Seedou Bojang, the Agency’s accountant, and one Marie Sanneh, were indicted by state prosecutors under a 30-count charge.

The alleged offences include conspiracy to commit felony, stealing by person in public service, aiding and abetting, unlawful possession of fire arm, unlawful possession of live ammunitions, concealment and destroying of evidence, official corruption, abuse of office, obtaining money by false pretence, making document without authority, among others.