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Ex-director ends testimony in NIA torture case

Aug 30, 2012, 9:42 AM | Article By: Bakary Samateh

Ebrima Drammeh, former Director of Internal Security and Operations at the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), who was also the second defence witness, Tuesday ended his testimony under cross-examination in the case involving him and three others at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court before Principal Magistrate Tawio Ade Alagbe.

The others are Lamin Darboe, a senior NIA operative, Alagie Edrissa Jobe alias Alagie Morr, former NIA head of Special Operations Unit, Ebrima Drammeh alias Jim, NIA commissioner Kanifing Division and Omar Jammeh alias Boy Boots, officer commanding West Coast Region.

They are being tried for the alleged offences of assault causing actual bodily harm, common assault and assault causing grievous bodily harm.

Under cross-examination, Drammeh told the court that he had never told the complainants that nothing would come out of the case, noting that he did not even have the opportunity to talk to them.

Asked whether he knew Essa Badjie, former Inspector General of Police, and whether he was present when Lamin Kabou was taken to the NIA, Drammeh admitted knowing Essa Badjie as the former Inspector General of Police.

He further noted that he was not aware of any beating, nor was he aware that Lamin Kabou ran from the NIA to the NDEA’s main office in Banjul.

Further asked whether he knew one Sukuta Jammeh whose vehicle they used to transport the complainants for treatment, Drammeh told the court that he knew Sukuta Jammeh, but denied torturing them, as he was the director at the time and that he had no opportunity even to talk to them.

Asked whether he had the right to seize their cell phones, Drammeh said he made himself very clear, as he has told the court that he had no opportunity to talk with them.

He pointed out that he was not among the investigation team, and that the investigators knew how they do their thing.

Asked whether he used to be armed when he was in active service, especially in this case, Drammeh denied being armed at any point in time regarding the case.

When it was put to him that he and his team seriously tortured the complainants, Drammeh denied torturing any of the complainants, but said they caught them with prohibited drugs.

He added that when the complainants were being discharged from the court, he was not at the NIA.

“I was already in court for the trial, and this is what I saw in the newspaper,” he said.

“I had a strong conviction that the complainants had committed a crime against the state for so many reasons,” Drammeh stated.

He added that PW1 Tijan Ndure, was arrested with the suspected cannabis, and that he accepted ownership of the cannabis during the interrogation.

Drammeh said one Ansuman Fatty, a Guinea Bassau national, was arrested with some quantity of cocaine.

Ansuman Fatty, Feranado Oho and Karamu Drammeh were granted bail, but they fled the country and had never attended any court proceedings, he said.

He added that Ansuman Fatty had fled with 15,000 Euro through Lamin Sima and Lamin Karbou.

He added that what they used to do was to make a deal with somebody who had false cocaine, and they would pretend to make an arrest on the buyer and would allow the person who owned the fake cocaine to go scot-free.

They would later meet him for their commission, and this was exactly why they were being arrested and charged, he told the court.

He revealed that, in this particular case, the accountant of the NIA was the buyer from the Guinea Bassau national.

The case was adjourned till 6 September 2012. 

The charge sheet on count one stated that the three accused persons, some time in May 2009 at the NIA head office in Banjul, conspired to cause injury to the persons of Lamin Kabou and Lamin Sima.

Count two stated that the accused persons, with intent to cause grievous harm to Lamin Kabou and Lamin Sima, unlawfully wounded Lamin Kabou and Lamin Sima, by beating them with fist blows, electric cables and metal.