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'I was charged D60,000 for conditional release of my brother'

Oct 25, 2010, 12:02 PM | Article By: Abdoulie Nyockeh

Balla Jarju, the third prosecution witness, on Friday told the Brikama Magistrates' Court that he was charged D60,000 by the first accused person, Jerreh Jarju, for the conditional release of his brother, who was arrested for being in possession of cannabis in Foni.

The witness was giving evidence in the ongoing trial involving Samba Camara, officer commanding the National Drug Enforcement Agency (NDEA) in the West Coast Region, and Jarreh Jarju, station officer, Sibanor Police Station.

Balla Jarju, a native of Nyakoi Bintang village in the West Coast Region, appeared before Magistrate Nkea of the Brikama Magistrates' Court.

He also stated that, following an appeal he made for Jerreh Jarju to reduce the said amount, he (the first accused person) first reduced the amount to D30,000 then later to D20,000.

"Upon our agreement for me to pay D20,000 for the release of my brother, I went to my village and sold my cow and its calf at a cost of D10,000, which I paid to Jerreh Jarju, the first accused in the presence of one Baba Badjie," he said.

He added that after paying the money to Jerreh Jarju, efforts were made to get his brother released, but to no avail.

"Jerreh told me that the D10,000 I paid to him was too small for him to release my brother from custody. Thereupon, I went back to my village and sold my donkey at a cost of D2,000, which I also paid to Jerreh, making it a total of D12,000," he told the court.

Balla Jarju further told the court that after paying the D12,000, his brother was released from custody, but was asked to come back in two weeks to pay the outstanding balance.

"To my surprise, before the deadline for the payment of the outstanding balance, Jerreh came to my village asking for my brother, Nabi Jarju, the one who was arrested and released.

"I told him that Nabi was away, attending a naming ceremony in the next village, and he (Jerreh) followed him there, and re-arrested him, saying that it was an instruction from his boss," Balla further told the court.

According to the third prosecution witness, Jerreh Jarju then told him that, if his boss came to their compound and asked whether Nabi Jarju’s family gave anything to him (Jerreh), they should say "no".

Under cross-examination by defence counsel Kebba Sanyang, the third prosecution witness told the court that Nabi Jarju is his elder brother.

Asked by the defence counsel whether they share the same mother, Balla replied in the positive.

He also told the court that whenever his brother is in trouble, he would do everything possible to get him released, in response to a question asked by the defence counsel.

Also asked whether his brother was arrested with cannabis, Balla replied in the positive, but denied that his brother was ever prosecuted in any court of law.

Asked whether he knew why his brother was never prosecuted, the third prosecution witness replied in the negative.

"I am putting it to you that you know better why your brother is not prosecuted. I am further putting it to you that, you and your brother Nabi Jarju, are volunteers coming to this court to lie against the accused person. That is why Nabi is not being prosecuted for the offence, which he admitted in this court," defence counsel Sanyang told the witness, who replied in the negative.

Asked whether he has any document to prove that the said money was paid to the first accused, Balla told the court that the money was paid, but no receipt was given to him.

Also, on the same day, the prosecution's fourth witness, one Baba Badjie, testified in the trial.

The case was then adjourned until the 3rd of November 2010.

Meanwhile, the accused persons were on the same day granted bail in the sum of D500,000 each with two Gambian sureties.