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D-Day in Tamba and Fofana treason trial

May 23, 2011, 1:41 PM | Article By: Sainey M.K. Marenah

The Special Criminal Court presided over by Justice Ikpala is today expected to deliver judgment in the treason trial involving the jailed ex-chief of defense staff Lt General Lang Tombong Tamba and ex-chief of naval staff, rear admiral Sajor Fofana.

This followed closing arguments by both the state prosecutors and the defence counsel representing the accused persons.

Tamba, already serving a death sentence for his involvement in a 2009 coup attempt, is being tried alongside Sarjo Fofana on four counts of treason in connection with the 21st March 2006 abortive coup, allegedly masterminded by the former chief of defence staff, Colonel Ndure Cham.

The charges preferred against the former security chiefs include conspiracy to commit treason, treason, and concealment of treason, charges which both men have denied.

The prosecution in order to prove its case against the accused persons had called six witnesses including Major Momodou Alieu Bah, who was convicted for treason, pardoned and subsequently reinstated in the army; Modou Manneh, a security operative; Timothy Sanyang, another senior military officer; and Momodou Sowe, a police officer attached to the major crimes unit of the police force, who narrated how he obtained cautionary and voluntary statements from the accused persons.

Also called by the prosecution as witnesses were ex-captains Bunja Darboe and Yahya Darboe, both convicted in connection with the 2006 abortive coup attempt, and now serving life sentences.

During proceedings, the prosecution tendered the cautionary and voluntary statements of both accused persons as exhibits through its witnesses.

At the closure of the prosecution’s case, defense counsel S.M. Tambadou and L.K. Mboge, opted to file a 'no-case-to-answer' submission before the trial judge, which was overruled. Tamba and Fofana were then ordered to open their defence.

However, the lawyers for the accused persons informed the court that their clients would not open their defence, and decided to address the court orally.

Both the prosecution and the defence lawyers addressed the court, which adopted the oral addresses, and set the stage for judgment.

Meanwhile, Lang Tombong Tamba was earlier, on 15th July 2010 convicted for treason alongside seven others and sentenced to death by the high court in the Banjul.

Sarjo Fofana was the president of the general court martial which convicted and sentenced ten men to various prisons terms, ranging from 10 years to life imprisonment, for their roles in the 2006 abortive coup plot.