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Dr Janneh intended to print and distribute 10,000 T- Shirts for protest investigator tells court

Nov 10, 2011, 2:07 PM | Article By: Sainey M.K. Marenah

A police investigator and a member of the panel that investigated the case involving former Information Minister Dr Amadou Scattred Janneh and three others, yesterday told the court that Dr Janneh’s intention was to print and distribute 10,000 T-shirts for a demonstration to change or remove the Government of The Gambia or the person of the President.

Dr Janneh and three others are standing trial on charges of treason and sedition at the Special Criminal Court in Banjul.

Momodou Bah, a police officer and the sixth prosecution witness, told the court, among other things, how the panel was constituted to look into the matter, and that they visited both the Commit office and Dr. Janneh’s residence.

Bah recalled how the officers commanding Brikama asked him to meet other officers at the Kanifing PIU, adding that while at the PIU headquarters in Kanifing, the Inspector General of Police met and addressed them, and told them that there was an unknown person driving an unknown car throwing T-shirts on the streets.

“IGP urged us to look for the said car while describing the said car, which he said looks like cars carrying or supplying car,” investigator Bah added.

He adduced that various checkpoints were mounted that night, but nothing could be found, saying that on 30th May 2011, Muhammed Idres of Sirtex Company was invited by the panel, where he was interviewed, which led to providing detail of dealers in T-shirts.

He said Micheal, one of the accused persons, was also invited to the panel where he confessed to printing the said T-shirts.

Bah testified that materials used by Micheal during the printing, including the film, where confiscated after the officers made a search in his Lamin residence.

The film was admitted and marked as an exhibit following a request by the Director of Public Prosecutions, without any objection from the defence lawyer.

PW6 as designated by the court further stated that Micheal was further asked who gave him the contract, and he said it was Ebrima Jallow and Modou Keita of Star Printing Service in Serrekunda.

He said this information led to the arrest of Jallow and Keita who were also interviewed as to who assigned them, and they both said it was Dr Janneh, the first accused person.

“I went to the 1st accused’s office at Commit in Kotu, and asked whether he assigned Jallow and Keita and he replied in the affirmative,” he testified.

Still adducing evidence for the prosecution, Bah continued: “Janneh was then invited for further questioning at the panel to which he confessed to contracting the duo for the printing.

“He was escorted to his office at Commit, where one T-shirt was found on his shelves, and further searches at his Paradise Estate discovered another two T-shirts with the wording: “Coalition for Change The Gambia, End to Dictatorship”, and at the back of it was written “Freedom”.

Under cross-examination by defence counsel L.S Camara, the witness said he knew the number of T-shirts purportedly to be printed by Dr. Janneh through emails and communications the investigators obtained from the 1st accused person’s inbox.

“Look at exhibit A. Did you find anything on the T-shirts that reads, ‘the 1st accused intended to demonstrate and remove the Gambia Government’ ”, counsel asked, and the witness said, “demonstration is not on the T-shirt”.

He also said there was nothing on the T-shirts that indicated how change would be effected, in response to another question.

Next to mount the witness box for the prosecution was one Ousman Tom, also a police officer attached to the Criminal Investigation Department at the Police headquarters in Banjul.

Tom told the court that he recognized all the accused persons in the dock, and could recall what happened on 27th May 2011, when one of their men came into the office and reported to the authorities that, while working along Kairaba Avenue, he saw a car driving at high speed throwing T-shirts and, as a result, he picked a sealed plastic bag with some T-shirts.

He said a photograph of the T-shirts were taken, adding that after the arrest of the 1st accused he was taken to Brusubi Police Station, and during investigations they requested the email address and account of the 1st accused person which he opened voluntarily.

Tom said the user name and password of “Coalition for Change The Gambia” (CCG) was found in his email inbox, stating that the user name and password were used to log onto the 1st accused person’s gmail account, where several email communications among members of CCG were found, including Janneh, Mathew K. Jallow, Ndey Tapha Sosseh, among others.

He said the emails were extracted and printed, and the investigations found therein negative communication, among them, to remove the APRC government and the person of the President of The Gambia.

According to the state witness, the head of the panel instructed him on 9th June 2011 to transcribe the audio press release found in the 1st accused person’s computer hard drive from the CCG.

“I transcribed the audio press release, and submitted it to the panel,” he said.

The computer hard drive was also tendered in court as an exhibit.

The witness concluded by saying that another audio interview was in a hard drive, and the interview was conducted by Ndey Tapha Sosseh in two local languages (Wollof and Mandika).

Hearing continues today.