#Article (Archive)

Ex-NIA Director opens defence

Aug 8, 2012, 9:14 AM | Article By: Bakary Samateh

Ebrima Drammeh, former director of Internal Security and Operations at the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) was the next defence witness to testify in the alleged torture case involving him and others at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court before Principal Magistrate Alagbe Ade Taiwo.

The other accused persons are Lamin Darboe, senior member of the NIA, Alagie Edriss Jobe alias Alagie Morr, former head of special operations unit at NIA and Omar Jammeh alias Boy Boots, officer commanding West Coast Region

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

Testifying as second defende witness (DW2), Ebrima Drammeh told the court that, in May 2009, he received a call from his superior while on his way to visit his mother in the provinces.

Momodou Lamin Hydara told him that he needed reinforcement for an operation in Brikama, and he stopped to get in touch with the members of the reinforcement team.

Drammeh said his superior told him that the team should not go to Brikama, but to the NIA main office in Banjul.

He added that they were in Banjul for nearly one hour, when the NIA Director General, Bo Badjie,  told him what they have to embark on in Brikama.

After that, he told the court, 18 men led by Ousman Sowe arrived with some members of the team, with several suspects who were arrested at Brikama in connection with drug dealing.

According to Drammeh the briefing given to him by the then Deputy Director and Director General was that they had received intelligence reports that some people were involved in drug dealing, which comprised Gambian officers and a Guinea Bissau national.

He said he was not part of the investigation, because he was the Director of Internal Security and Operations at the NIA.

Drammeh said his office received the information that Lamin Kabu had escaped from custody and that the then Director General, Bo Badjie, called him and said he should go for Lamin Kabu at the NDEA main office in Banjul and bring him back.

He added that upon arriving there, he went to the office of the then Director General of the NDEA, Bun Sanneh, and Bun asked  him to sit down, and he found Lamin Kabu in his office with some senior members of the NDEA.

“I told them that I was sent to come and collect Lamin Kabu, who ran away from our custody. Lamin Kabu, Bun Sanneh and I came down to board a vehicle to the NIA main office in Banjul,” he further told the court.

“As we were moving out of Police headquarters toward the GT Bank, we spotted Lamin Sima, and Bun called him to come and join the vehicle to the NIA main office, which he did,” Drammeh said.

Upon arrival at the NIA headquarters in Banjul, the two suspects were asked to wait at the reception section, while he and Bun entered the office of Bo Badjie and had a lengthy discussion.

While they were on the discussion, they heard a big noise outside and later found out that it was Lamin Kabu who was forcing himself into the office of the Director General.

When asked by his defence counsel, Abdoulie Sissoho, whether he had participated in the beating of the two suspects, Drammeh told the court that he never beat them, since as the director of internal security and operations, he had little to do with them.

He added that his role was to investigate files that were forwarded to him, and the content of the file would be referred to his superiors.

Still in his defence, Drammeh said after several findings were made and when PW1 Tijan Ndure, one of the suspect’s residence was searched, 15 parcels of cocaine were recovered and some quantity of cannabis.

He added that the investigators asserted that one Karamo had revealed to the officers that they knew the drugs they were selling was not good stuff, and they did not want the buyer to go with the stuff.

As a result, they needed narcotics officers to disturb their operation, which Lamin Kabu and Lamin Sima were exactly doing, and based on that they would institute the arrest of these officers, who were on an official assignment.

He added that the screening report revealed that Lamin Sima was dismissed from the Gambia national army.

However, D.O. Kulo raised an objection on the grounds that the screening report was not before the court, and so the witness could not talk on that.

Drammeh further explained that the screening report findings during the investigation revealed that Lamin Sima was discharged from the army.

The case was then adjourned to today for cross-examination.

The charge sheet on count one stated that the 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 revealed 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.