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I was paid 30,000 Euro to train mercenaries - Rui Jabbi Gassama

Mar 30, 2010, 12:36 PM | Article By: Soury Camara

Ousainou Kujabi alias Rui Jabbi Gassama has said that he was paid 30,000 Euro by former CDS Lt. General Lang Tombong Tamba to help train 300 mercenaries in Bambadinka in Bissau in order to overthrow the Government of The Gambia.

Mr. Kujabi who is the second prosecution witness (PW2) in the ongoing treason trial yesterday 29th March 2010 told the High Court in Banjul that the payment was made by Lang Tombong at the house of the first accused person in The Gambia.

Testifying before Justice Emmanuel Amadi, PW2 further alleged that he was given 5,000 Euro as a gift by the first accused. He added that it was Lang Tombong who handed the money to BO Badgie "who eventually gave the money to me."

PW2 also told the court that the 1st and 3rd accused persons "promised to build a house for me in The Gambia and Bissau, and help me expand my business."

"Ngorr Secka and Kukoi Samba Sanyang told me that they will need me to train 300 mercenaries in Bambadinka in Bissau with two whitemen."

"In that bush, Ngorr Secka and Kukoi have arms there that included A52 machine gun, 12-7 machine gun, mortar 120 and mortar 80," he continued.

PW2 adduced that "200 of the men are Gambians, and the other 100 are from different nationality" unknown to him (PW2). He added that the men are divided into three groups each with a leader namely, Ajaely, Idi and Buba.

Mr. Kujabi (PW2) testified that he is a Gambian, and lives at Bundung but is currently doing business in Guinea Bissau.

PW2 went on to informed the court how he came to know the three accused persons, Lang Tombong Tamba, Lamin BO Badjie and Ngorr Secka.

"In 2009, I was in Bissau, one day, Ngorr Secka called me and told me that he wants to see me. He (Ngorr Secka) told me to meet him at a restaurant called Samaritan in Bissau. When we meet the 6th accused, Ngorr Secka, asked me to sell him one kilo of cocaine and I told him the price is 14,000 Euro. He paid the money, then I gave it to him."

He testified that Ngorr Secka brings customers to him in the drug business.

"One day, Ngorr Secka, the sixth accused person asked me whether I can find arms for Kukoi Samba Sanyang and his people."

"I later discovered who these people are. They are Lang Tombong Tamba and Lamin BO Badgie."

In regard to the arms, "I told him that that he (Ngorr Secka) should wait for a moment so that I will find arms for him."  PW2 said that the arms are "for a coup plot to overthrow the Government of The Gambia."

"I contacted a friend called Momodou Trawally, a Guinean, who eventually told me he will find photos of arms so that I will present it to Ngorr Secka and Kukoi Samba Sanyang."  PW2 added that his friend later didnot find the photograph. "The 6th accused person later called me by phone, and told me it is not necessary since I am late, and they already got the arms," according to Kujabi.

PW2 continued to testify: "I have seen the arms that were purchased, and they were shown to me by Ngorr Secka and Kukoi Samba Sanyang. I saw 4 explosives, that is, mortar 120, mortar 80 and the other two are remote explosives. It was the same arm that was used to killed Guinea Bissau's army chief. I have got the knowledge of guns. I am a military intelligence officer."

According to the witness, from 1988 to 1991 "I was in Senegal Liberty 5. I sat to an examination, and I was sponsored to go to France to study military intelligence for five years."

"I finished my course, and I should return back to Dakar to receive my certificate, but did not want to return back to Dakar. Instead, I went to the United States in New York in 2000, and started doing my business."

"While I was in Bissau, I got to know the former Interior Minister of Guinea Bissau, Basirou Darboe, and any drug that was arrested by the Bissau-Guinean government was normally given to me for sale."

He said that in the light of this, "I was given Bissau Nationality, since I did not want them to know that I am a Gambian."

He added that the 6th accused never knew that he is a Gambian, "and as a result revealed all the secrets to me."

"The 6th accused person, Ngorr and Kukoi Samba Sanyang told me that they want to kill the President," PW2 also told the court.

At this juncture, lawyer Pap Cheyassin Secka objected to this part of PW2's evidence about causing the death of the President. Among others, he said that if this piece of evidence was there, it should have been included in the indictment. He said that none of the 16th and 25th December statements of PW2, and that of his 8th February 2010 statement mentioned anything of such.

He submitted further that the prosecution is precluded from leading evidence in any matter of the indictment that is not mentioned in the indictment in respect of the overt act.

He said that there is an offence of assault, which, he said, means putting a person in a physical apprehension of danger.

He further submitted that there is no count or charge covering the evidence, and that the court is limited to adjudicating the matters amply before it by the bill of indictment.

In reply, Richard N. Chenge, Director of Public Prosecutions, submitted that "we are clear in count one of the charges," adding that it says conspiracy to commit treason as the main count.

The DPP said their submission referred to "an assault with arms," adding "the accused are presumed to kill as the natural consequence of assault with arms. The intention of a coup plot and assault is to kill the President," he said.

He submitted that the offence is conspiracy as the plan, as in count one.

The court is expected to rule on this exchange today. Meanwhile, the witness was allowed to continue with his testimony.

"Ngorr Secka told me that they needed a boat that can transport the arms from Guinea Bissau to The Gambia. I told him that there is no problem, since I have one of my friends who wants to sell his boat, and his name is one Rui" different from him (PW2), Mr. Kujabi testified.

PW2 said that his friend Rui (a whiteman) had put the price of the boat at 75,000 Euro, and that was stationed at Kachew the first capital of Guinea Bissau.

"I went to Kachew to see the boat, and Ngorr Secka called me back again and I informed him that the boat is already in Kachew."

"Ngorr Secka and Kukoi Samba Sanyang asked me to lead them to see the boat." Kukoi told him (PW2) that the boat "is very good but the price was expensive at 200,000 Euro." PW2 told the court that "I gave them that price because I am a business man."

"I later told them that the last price the owner will accept is 150,000 Euro, and Kukoi Samba Sanyang agreed since they are in need of it."

Pap Cheyassin Secka objected to this part of PW2's testimony, arguing that the defence cannot cover a matter that is not in the statement of the witness. He submitted that the defence is being denied an essential evidence in the trial.

DPP retorted that the purpose of serving an indictment is to get the defence to prepare themselves, and to know what is coming. He cited the Criminal Procedure Code, and said they are expected to give a summary but not details.

The court ruled that, after perusing the Evidence Act, the DPP must amend and serve the defence counsel all the required information.

PW2 in continuing his testimony said that he cannot tell where Lang Tombong's house is located, since he left The Gambia and has been away for a long time. He told the court that when he arrived in The Gambia, he was picked up by Lang Tombong at Tallinding. He said Lt. General Tamba drove him (PW2) via one military barracks and the airport then turned right on the main highway with many street-lights before branching right again to the 1st accused person's house.

PW2 said that while in the first accused person's house, he (PW2) was introduced to one Ebrima Marreh.

Meanwhile, below is the final part of this report in question and answer format of the cross-examination of the witness, Ebrima Marreh, by Lawyer Hawa Sisay Sabally.

Q- Mr. Marreh you remember going to Kotu Police on the 2nd November 2009?

A- I cannot remember.

Q- Did you remember listening to an audio cassette play at Kotu Police, sometime in 2009?

A- I cannot remember.

Q- I am putting it to you that you did listen to a cassette and that was the first day you met Kuluteh Manneh?

A- Yes.

Q- What happened at the Kotu Police Station on that day?

A-  I cannot remember.

Q- You remember telling Kuluteh Manneh that you are the President's uncle?

A-  I cannot remember saying that.

Q- Can you tell the court what you remember saying at the Kotu Police Station?

A-  That day, I myself, the former Inspector General of Police (Ensa Badjie) and Kuluteh Manneh and others were there. Then Essa Badgie Ex-IGP told me that this man's name is Kuluteh Manneh and in return Kuluteh asked my name, I told him my name is Ebrima Bojang.

Q- What do you remember saying?

A-  I said nothing.

Q- What was the purpose of the gathering?

A- I don't know.

Q- Mr. Marreh who recorded your 21st November 2009, statement?

A- I don't know his name. I am just there to give a statement.

Q- I am putting it to you that all the evidence that you have given to this court is your big imagination, and not a coup plot to overthrow the government of The Gambia.

A- I deny it. What I had said is the truth, and nothing else.