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Ex-NIA Operatives Diamond Scandal Continues

Nov 11, 2009, 11:34 AM | Article By: Soury Camara

(Tuesday, 10th November 2009 Issue)

The protracted trial in the purported diamond scandal involving six former operatives of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) proceeded recently at the Kanifing Magistrates' Court, presided over by Principal Magistrate Joseph Ikpala, with the testimony of the fourth accused person, Lamin Sanneh.

Mr. Sanneh testified that he was aware of the charges levied against him which, according to him, was instituted by the two German complainants: Frank Mahley and Nicholas Westpal.

He testified that he could remember 23rd June 2003, while at Senegambia with Kajali Jawara, Basiru Jabang and Fabakary Barrow, when his boss Kajali Jawara informed him about the two German tourists suspected of being in possession of some diamond, which they should investigate.

DW4 further adduced that his boss then hinted that more information was anticipated from the NIA Headquarters in Banjul.
The former NIA operative revealed that, sometime later another operative by the name Ousman Kal came and met Kajali Jawara, the third accused, and later directed them to one Buba Senghore at Bakadajie Hotel who escorted them to a house in Kololi where they met a Sierra Leonean lady by the name Adama Bagura.

According to him, the said Adama informed them that she went to Sierra Leone with two Germans who were in search of some pieces of diamond.

He further testified that while in Sierra Leone, she took them to one Mr. Tulur from whom the said Germans bought the diamond and returned to The Gambia.

DW4 adduced that the said Adama Bagura also informed them that she was supposed to be paid $2500 upon arrival in The Gambia.
Still testifying before the court, Mr. Sanneh revealed that they went to locate the two Germans at their hotel in Senegambia.

"We met them and asked them about the suspected diamond, but they denied having any diamond," he added.
"We met with their Gambian counterpart and asked for a search but we could not found any diamond," he explained.

But he said the two Germans were later taken to Badala Park Hotel for questioning, where they maintained that they have the said diamond with one Dr. Alamin.

According to him, they had mounted their investigation up to the Airport to look for Dr Alamin but could not locate him there.
"I only knew the said Dr. Alamin later at the Kanifing Magistrates Court," he added.

Further briefing the court, Mr Sanneh stated that he had neither taken any money from Adama Bagura, nor did he read the commission's report on the alleged diamond scandal.

"I have never taken diamond from the Germans nor did I take any money from any body," he informed the court.

"Instead I was arrested concerning this matter that I stole some property from the two Germans. I was also later suspended without salary and finally dismissed from the civil service," he told the court.

"Since the Germans denied purchasing any diamond from Sierra Leone, therefore, I did not take any diamond from the Germans national and I did not do anything wrong," he testified.

The case is expected to continue on 18th November 2009.