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Drug agency officials trial progresses

Jul 5, 2010, 2:21 PM | Article By: Sainey M.K. Marenah

The trial involving Ibrahim Bun Sanneh the former head of the National Drug Enforcement Agency (NDEA) and four others continued last Friday 2nd July 2010 at the high court in Banjul before Justice Emmanuel Amadi.

The former Executive Director of the NDEA, his deputy Karamo Bojang, Diector of Operations Ousman Sanneh, NDEA accountant Seedy Bojang, and one Marie Sanneh were arraigned under a 30-count charge.

When the case resumed, the Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, Mikailu Abdullhi, called the fourth prosecution witness, a police officer, to continue his testimony.

Jawo Keita, PW4, told the court that he obtained a cautionary statement from the 1st accused person, Ibrahim Bun Sanneh on 13th March 2010.

M. Abdulli then rose and applied for the statement to be tendered as an exhibit.

Kebba Sanyang, counsel for Bun Sanneh, objected to the application, arguing that the statement was not relevant to the issue before the court. Not sufficient reason was advanced by the prosecution in applying to tender the statement as an exhibit, he added.

Counsel Sanyang further stated that the prosecution's application has no bearing on any of the charges, and cited section 3 of the Evidence Act.

Evidence must be admissible before the court can admit it. "I humbly urged your lordship not to admit the statement," counsel submitted.

DDPP Abdullhi in response said the issue of relevance is not only in favour of the prosecution, but the accused person too. "The statement was obtained during the course of the investigation," he submitted.

"The accused person and his counsel did not deny that the statement was obtained from the accused person himself," he added.

DDPP further submitted that the statement is relevant, and urged the trial judge to admit the said statement as an exhibit.

Lawyer Kebba Sanyang again rose and told the court that the prosecution did not cite any law authority to buttress his points. He then cited the Evidence Act to strengthen his submission.

Justice Amadi, after carefully studying the submissions ruled in favour of the prosecution and the cautionary statement was admitted and marked as an exhibit.

Under cross-examination by defence counsel Kebba Sanyang, the witness, Jawo Keita, admitted that he obtained statements from both the 1st and 2nd accused persons respectively.

Asked how many statements he obtained from the 1st accused, Jawo said two. Asked for the date when the statements were obtained, he said on 2nd April 2010.

Asked what prompted him to obtained two voluntary statements from the 1st accused, he replied, "because of the different charges against the accused person."

When put to him by defence counsel that he (the witness) works at the NIA, Kieta replied in the negative. Asked further why the statement was not obtained at the police station, since the accused persons are police officers and not NIA officers, the witness responded that it was a joint investigation comprising different security agencies.

After cross-examination, Lawyer Sagarr C.T. Jahateh, representing the 4th accused person together with PC Secka, told the court that she has filed a bail application for her client, and that she would like to move her bail application, if the court grants this.

Lawyer L.K. Mboge representing the 5th accused person, Seedy Bojang, also applied to move his bail application, which he filed earlier.

After listening to the defence counsel, Justice Amadi ruled that he could not hear the bail applications on that day and gave Friday 9th July 2010 as the date for hearing the bail applications.

He then adjourned the case to 7th July 2010 for continuation of the hearing.

Bun Sanneh and co-accused are facing several charges, including conspiracy to commit felony, stealing by person in public service, aiding and abetting, unlawfully possession of fire arm, unlawfully possession of live ammunitions, concealment and destroying of evidence, official corruption, abuse of office and committing economic crimes, obtaining money by false pretence, making document without authority, and forgery.

All of them denied the charges