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Ex-IGP Badjie was our boss, convicted robber tells court

Jun 11, 2010, 4:00 PM | Article By: Sainey M.K. Marenah

Soriba Condeh, the first prosecution witness in the robbery trial involving the former Inspector General of Police, Ensa Badjie, and CSP Ali Ceesay, a prison officer, yesterday told the court how they robbed a supermarket at Saffideen, Serrekunda, with the instructions of Ensa Badjie, whom he described as their "boss".

Soriba, who could not complete his testimony during last sitting, continued yesterday with more revelations.

Testifying before Justice Emmanuel Joseph Ikpala of the Special Criminal Court, Condeh, a convict who is currently serving a jail term at Mile 2 Central Prison, told the court that the robbery incident had taken place in Serrekunda. He adduced that after the arrest of his colleagues, who took part in that operation, the 1st accused (Ensa Badjie) had called him and informed him of the arrest of Omar Touray, Yusupha Baldeh and Bunkling.

"The 1st accused (Ensa Badjie) advised me not to wait for arresting police team, who were about to come and arrest me. My colleagues were arrested and I was in town for some days, and I later left for Kanfungting village," the convict, cum prosecution witness testified.

Condeh further told the court that, the rest of his colleagues were each convicted and sentenced to two years in prison. He said shortly after that the 1st accused (Ensa Badjie) had left for Darfur. 

"Upon his return from Darfur in 2007, he gave us another operation in respect of a supermarket. "He (Ensa Badjie) came to me and informed me that there is a safe in that particular supermarket that we should break with a cutter," he added.

He explained how the 1st accused, whom he referred to as their "boss" gave him D2, 500, to buy a cutter to carry out the operation, in order to take the safe and share the money among themselves.

"Myself, Tony and the 1st accused met at City Pub, where I called others including Suma, Yusupha Bojang, Ebrima Camara, alias Langkangman now deceased.

"When they came, I informed them about the operation that was to kick-off on Friday. We met at City Pub at 2 am, then the 1st accused provided a vehicle - a red coloured Benz 190, where we boarded the car, and left for the operation at the supermarket," he testified.

"The supermarket was at Saffideen, around Bambo. The owner is a Lebanese. We used a cutter to cut the padlock. After cutting the padlock, we entered. Despite being unable to take the safe, we moved to the accounts section where we found a box containing, D500, 000 and Africell and Gamcel scratch cards. My friends told me that it is not safe for us to take all these amount to the 1st accused.  Then we proceeded to the compound of one Fatou Mendy at Bakoteh."

According to the witness, he gave each of his friends D35, 000 and took D65, 000 for himself, leaving a balance of D300, 000 inside the bag. He adduced that he woke up Fatou Mendy, and gave her the money for safe-keeping until the following morning.

"I took the car that night to City Pub, where the 1st accused was waiting for us. I met the watchman, one Pa Dodou, who asked me who gave me the car and there arose some argument. Then I phoned Tony, who was at the time inside City Pub, and he instructed Pa Dodou to leave me alone, because the car was given to him by his boss."

According to Condeh, he went inside and handed over the Africell and Gamcel scratch cards to the 1st accused.

At this juncture, the defence counsel for the 1st accused, BS Touray, applied for an adjournment on the grounds that he had another matter in a separate court.

BS Touray told the court that the case should have commenced at 9:30 am in the morning, but due to the late arrival of the witness, the case could not proceed as scheduled.

His application was granted and, subsequently the case was adjourned to 15th June 2010.

The Director of Public Prosecutions, R.N. Chenge, led the prosecution.

The former police boss and co. were indicted on different counts, ranging from conspiracy to commit a felony, robbery with violence, receiving stolen property, aiding and abetting, robbery, conspiracy to commit misdemeanour official corruption, conspiracy to defeat justice and interference with witnesses, deceiving witnesses, offences relating to judicial proceeding, to using criminal charms.