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Ex- Drug Squad deputy chief testifies in ex IGP Badjie trial

Jul 13, 2010, 1:40 PM | Article By: Sainey M.K. Marenah

Pateh Jallow, the former Deputy Executive Director of the National Drug Enforcement Agency (NDEA) yesterday testified as the third prosecution witness (PW3), in the trial of ex- IGP Ensa Badjie and Chief Superintendent of Prison, Ali Ceesay before Justice Ikpala of the Special Criminal Court in Banjul.

In his testimony before the court, PW3 Pateh Jallow told the court that he knows the 1st accused, Ensa Badjie, and could recall what had happened in the first quarter of 2007, when he was the Officer Commanding Drug Enforcement at Kanifing Division.

At this point, the defence counsel BS Touray rose and told the court that he does not have the witness statement, and that it puts the defence at a disadvantage.

BS Touray further submitted that providing this document to the defence is of paramount importance, to help test the consistency of the witness.

"The prosecution has the opportunity to provide the defence with relevant documents in criminal proceedings," he added. 

However, the court allowed the witness to continue his testimony.

PW3 told the court that there were a series of armed robberies and break-ins in the Kanifing Division.

It was then that Commissioner Ousman Gibba, who was the Commissioner of Police for Kanifing Division, deemed it fit to put in place a task force comprising the police, drug squad, prison and immigration officers, then headed by Landing Bojang.

According to the witness, Landing Bojang arrested one Langaman and Suma, and that the said Landing Bojang came to his office for reinforcement so that the prime suspect, one Soriba Condeh, alias Ramsi, could also be arrested.

"I gave two officers to Landing, and subsequently Soriba Condeh (PW1) was arrested and he was brought to my office," Jallow revealed.

He said Landing Bojang told him that he got information from Ensa Badjie (the 1st accused), to the effect that when PW1 was arrested, "if you don't burn a small piece of his hair, he will disappear," and that it was then he burnt a portion of PW1's hair.

The witness further testified that Ensa Badjie told him that PW1 wanted to confess, and has got cannabis to smoke, but denied giving him cannabis to smoke so that he can confess.

"What type of cannabis?" asked DPP Chenge, and the witness said that it was from the exhibits kept in his office. He said he told Ensa Badjie that this cannabis was part of exhibits awaiting trial, so he could not give it out.

Further testifying, PW1 said he then left the office and, upon his return, he noticed smell of cannabis  in his office.

Then he asked Ensa Badjie, who was at the time Officer Commanding CID, whether he gave the exhibits to Ramsi (PW1) to smoke.

"The 1st accused told me that he just took a small quantity for PW1 to smoke, so that he can confess, and investigation into the case can continue," Mr. Jallow told the court.

"I bitterly protested, and later relocated the cannabis exhibits," Jallow added.

Defence counsel BS Touray again rose and told the court that he needs time to interview his client on the statement PW3 made to the police.

Touray submitted that the proof of evidence is different from a police statement, noting that the statement given by this witness to the investigators had not been attached to the information before this court.

Counsel argued that the witness’s statement was different from the summary of evidence, and cited Section 237 Sub-section 2 of the Criminal Procedure Code, which he read in court.

BS Touray further submitted that it is the right of the accused person to be supplied by the prosecution with all the information of the witnesses they intended to call. This, he added, will help the defence to further test the credibility and consistency of the witness.

He applied before the court to order the prosecution to make this document available to the defence.

In reply, DPP Chenge urged the court to dismiss the defence submission. He said Section 237 Sub-ection 2 as cited by the defence is not absolute, stating that what the witness was saying was inclusive in the summary of evidence.

"If the witness has said something out of his statement, then the prosecution can make the document available to the defence," Chenge submitted.

DPP Chenge further cited Section 175 B Sub-section (b) which states that the prosecution should supply the defence with the summary of evidence, which he said, the prosecution did.

"They may apply if the witness is out of statement," DPP Chenge submitted. He then urged the court to refuse defence counsel’s application.

BS Touray, who replied on a point of law argued that Section 175 (b) is not standing in isolation, saying this should be read together with Sub-section 237 of the CPC.

"It is the statutory right of the accused to request for witness statement, if it has not been earlier provided," he concluded.

Justice Ikpala refused the defence counsel’s application, following a ruling he delivered.

Under cross-examination by defence counsel BS Touray, the witness admitted to making a witness statement to the panel of investigators.

Again BS Touray applied for the said statement to be provided to the defence, but Richard N. Chenge insisted that the said statement was not in the prosecution's custody, and so they cannot provide it.

BS Touray said the witness has confirmed before the court that he made a witness statement, and asked why the prosecution was denying them the statement.

DPP Chenge then told the court that they do not have that statement, but attached the summary of evidence, which he added, was sufficient for the defence.

BS Touray told the court that the DPP cannot say that the summary of evidence is sufficient, and that it was the trial judge who should decide.

"The court has the power to determine our application, but not the DPP," submitted defence counsel.

Asked by the defence counsel whether he (the witness) reported the 1st accused to the Inspector General of Police when he requested cannabis for Soriba to smoke, PW3 replied, "I did not report him."

Further quizzed whether he reported the matter to the Commissioner of Police for Kanifing Division, PW3 again replied in the negative.

When it was put to him by BS Touray that Ensa Badjie never made such a request, because he is a disciplined officer, the witness told the court that he was speaking the truth, and was under oath.

The witness also told the court that they were in the same contingent with Landing Bojang in Darfur, and that he had never confronted Landing Bojang in respect of the 1st accused.

When it was put to him that the 1st accused had never escorted PW1 to his office, PW3 insisted that PW1 came to his office with the 1st accused.

"I am putting it to you that you were forced to come to court to lie against the 1st accused."

"I was never forced to come to court to lie against the 1st accused," replied the witness.

He admitted that he was a close friend, and has a good working relationship with the 1st accused, when this was put to him by defence counsel.

"Where are you working now?" asked counsel. "I am not working now," replied Jallow.

Hearing continues today at 12 pm.

It would be recalled that Ensa Badjie and Superintendent of Prison Ali Ceesay were arraigned at the special criminal court, after being indicted on different counts, including conspiracy to commit a felony, robbery with violence, receiving stolen property, aiding and abetting, robbery, conspiracy to commit misdemeanour, aiding prisoner to escape, official corruption, conspiracy to defeat justice and interference with witnesses, deceiving witnesses, offences relating to judicial proceeding, and using criminal charms, among others.