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In treason trial

Apr 6, 2010, 3:04 PM | Article By: Soury Camara

Witness Challenged To Produce Documents

Defence lawyer Pap Cheyassin Secka on 1st April 2010 challenged the second prosecution witness, Ousainou Kujabi alias Rui Jabbi Gassama to produce any document in court that will substantiate his verbal evidence on the existence of the alleged training ground for the 300 mercenaries in Bambadinka (Guinea Bissau).

"I put it to you that you cannot produce any shred of evidence to confirm your false story that you were engaged in training mercenaries for the alleged coup plot," lawyer Secka challenged Mr. Kujabi, who is the second prosecution witness (PW2).

Mr. Kujabi who is giving evidence under cross-examination in the ongoing treason trial at the Banjul High Court replied, "It is not false."

When further challenged as to whether he (PW2) has "any document from Lang Tombong Tamba and Bo Badgie the 1st and 3rd accused persons to engage in the service of training the so-called mercenaries," he said, "there is no document."

"Did you give Lang Tombong any receipt for the 30,000 Euro,"asked the lawyer, and PW2 testified that "I did not issue any receipt."

The following is a report in question and answer format of the cross-examination of Mr. Kujabi (Rui Jabbi Gassama) by lawyer Pap Cheyassin Secka who alongside lawyer Assan Martin is representing Omar Bun Mbye, Momodou Gaye, Ngorr Secka and Abdoulie Joof. He is also holding brief for lawyer Sheriff Tambedou who was absent, and is counsel for Lang Tombong Tamba and Kawsu Camara.

Q- Did you train any mercenaries before this one you alleged to have done?


Q- Where?

A-At Tunder-hill Kissy Messmess in Freetown.

Q- When was that?
A- I can't remember.

Q- Do you know the strength of the Gambian armed forces?

When this question was asked by senior lawyer Pap Cheyassin Secka, Richard Chenge the Director of Public Prosecutions rose to object to the question, on the grounds that it will easily expose the security of this country.

Lawyer Secka dismissed the objection raised by the DPP as absolutely incorrect, asking how a person could train mercenaries without the knowledge of the size of the army.

Subsequently, the court overruled the defence counsel.

Q- I am putting to you that the strength of the army is over 5,000 men.

Yet again the court refused to entertain this question, arguing that was not relevant.

Lawyer Secka then submitted that he was laying the foundation for his defence.

Q- Was Lang Tombong the CDS at the time Ngorr Secka held discussions with you?


Q- Do you know, as CDS, Lang Tombong, the 1st accused was responsible for administration, operational and day to day running of the Gambian armed forces?

A-Yes, I know.

Q- Did you also say that, at the time you spoke to Ngorr Secka, the 6th accused person, Lang Tombong and Bo Badgie both accused persons had already left service?

A-When I was in The Gambia, Lang Tombong Tamba and Bo Badgie had already left service, but Ngorr Secka, the 6th accused person, was still in Guinea-Bissau.

Q- Did you say that Njorr Secka told you that there are some people in the army and the NIA who will carry on the coup plot?

A-Yes, exactly.

Q- It was in remarks that you said like "when a soldier man dies another soldier man takes over?"


Q- For your so-called training, did you have a training manual?

A-No, everything was in the head.

Q- Did you have a syllabus or programme?


Q- Before the training took place, did you make an assessment of the level of competence of the people you are to train?


Q- This training exercise did it involve target practising?


Q- During the target practising did you use blank or live ammunition?

A-We have the blank for the machine gun. But the mortar 120 and 80 did not have the blank.

Q-What do you have for the mortar?

A-The real explosive.

Q- Can you give the court an estimate during the 45-days training period how many times have you train with the mortars?

A-I can't remember.

Q- Is it ten or more than ten times?
A- I can't remember.

Q- Even though you have your programme?

A-Yes, because no man is perfect.

Q- Did you say that right from the beginning your intention was to know about the plot, and reveal it to the Gambian authorities?


Q- When the Gambian authorities sent an investigating team in Bissau, and they found that you were arrested, you said that you took them to a restaurant called Samaritan where you have meeting with Ngorr Secka, the 6th accused person?

A-I did not say that.

Q- Was the picture of the restaurant taken in your presence?

A-No, not in my presence.

Q- But you went with both the Gambian and Bissau authorities to see the boat?


Q- Did you go anywhere with the joint investigation team in Bissau?


Q- Let me remind you what you said, "I can't remember the name of the boat, but when I see the picture of the boat I can recognise it. I told the authorities where the boat is."

The court ordered that this statement be expunged from the records.

Q- Did you have a place where you keep your arms and ammunition during the 45-days training period?
A-Yes, the arms and ammunition were with us at the training ground.

Q- Did you have them lying about or did you have a store where they are kept?

A-The arms were there on the ground.

Q- Did you have toilet facilities at the training ground?

A-It is in the bush.

Q- Did you say that Ngorr Secka did bring food for the mercenaries at the training ground every Friday?

A-Yes, I said it.

Q- In your answer about the boat you admitted that you took photographs of the boat?

A-I did not take any photograph.


Again there was push and pull between the DPP and lawyer Secka. The DPP swiftly rose up and told the court that the defence lawyer was misleading the witness. But lawyer Secka repudiated the DPP's suggestions, saying, "for my 37 years at the Bar I do not want any lectures from the DPP."

Q- Did you say when you visited the boat with Rui Damas pictures of the boat were taken?

A-I never said that.

Q- Did you say, in your statement of 16th December 2009, that Rui Damas gave you (PW2) the photograph of the boat?

A-He did not give me the photos.

Q- And you travelled with Rui Damas to go and see the boat?

A-Yes, I said so.

Q- Do you have a photograph, even a single photo of the training site, the trainees or arms and ammunition?

A-No, I did not have.

Q- Apart from your verbal statement, do you have anything to show the existence of the training ground?


Q- I remind you that from the beginning your intention was to reveal the alleged plot.


Q- And you thought it was important to show them the boat, but you did not have anything to show the Gambian authorities about the training ground?

A-At that moment, there was nobody at the training ground and the training was finished.

Q- Did you take either the Gambian or Guinean investigating team to the training ground?

A-I did not go anywhere with them.

Q- I am putting it to you that you did not take them to the training ground because no such ground existed, and it was just your creative imaginations?

A-I did not take them.

Q- Do you know the recent history of Guinea-Bissau, especially that there was a bush war for independence?

A-I know it very well.

Q- Did you know, as a result, the security forces know every inch of that country?

A- Yes, I know.

Q- You also told the court that Bambadinka is in the border between Bissau and Conakry?


Q- You want this court to believe that the security-minded Bissau authorities, who know every inch of their territory, will fail to know the existence of an unauthorised training camp lasting for 45-days period?

A-Yes, I want the court to believe that.

Q- When did the training start?

A-I cannot remember.

Q- You told the court that you were paid 30,000 Euro to train 300 mercenaries?


Q- I am putting it to you that it means you were paid 100 Euro per person for each trainee?

A-I told you that they paid me 30,000 Euro and an additional 5,000 Euro for me (PW2) to have confidence.

Q- Do you remember making a statement on the 16th December 2009 at the NIA?


Q- Did you say in that statement, referring to Lang Tombong Tamba the 1st accused person and Bo Badgie the 3rd accused persons: "I did not meet them in the Gambia?"

A-I told them I met them when I came to The Gambia, but I could not remember the date.

Q- Did you say in that statement written on the 16th December 2009, you did not meet Lang Tombong and Bo Badgie when you came to The Gambia?

A-I could not remember the date, but I have met them when I came to The Gambia.

Q- Where did you make your 16th and 23rd December 2009 statements?

A-At the NIA.

Q- But you stated that on 17th December 2009, while at the detention centre, in the presence of Bissau authorities, the Gambian delegation showed you a photo album where you (PW2) identified two men you were working with in Bissau?


Q- And in that statement did you identify Ngorr Secka and Kabirou Saidy?


Q- You stated that you came to The Gambia and made a report to one Captain Jallow at State House, and to the NIA?


Q- This report - was it after the training or before the training?

A-After the training.

Q- When was the report made?

A-I cannot remember the day and dates.

Q-Can you remember whether it was in September, October, November or December?

A-I cannot remember. What I know it was in 2009, but I cannot remember the date.

Q- You said that the first and second meetings took place in Bo Badgie's house and the third at Lang Tombong's house?


Q- Can you tell the court the interval of these three meetings?

A-I can't remember.

Q- How long during these periods did you stay in The Gambia in the first, second and third meetings.

A-I spent two weeks.

Q- And it was during these two weeks that these three meetings took place?


Q- Did you remember during this period whether Lang Tombong Tamba was in service?

A-No, he was not in service.

Q- I am putting it to you that Lang Tombong left the service on the 9th of September 2009?

A-I can't remember.

Q- It was at the third meeting that you were paid the 30,000 Euro?

A-Yes, it was in the third meeting that I was paid 30,000 Euro.

Q- Did you remember after you received the 30,000 Euro, how long did it take you to start the training?

A-One week.

Q- How long after you received the money did you stay in The Gambia?

A-I can't remember.

Q- How many days after your arrival did you received these monies for the training?

A-I can't remember.

Q- But you do remember saying that "the first time I saw the 1st and 3rd accused persons was on the issue of the 12th October 2009 of the Daily Observer?"

A-I did not say that. I said earlier that Ngorr Secka showed me their picture in Bissau before I came to The Gambia.

Q- When were you arrested by the Bissau authorities?

A-I cannot remember the date, because no one is perfect.

Q- How many days were you in detention?

A-I cannot remember.

Q- How many times have you been detained in your life?

A-Never in my life, except in Bissau.

Q- In your 35 years, you cannot remember your first arrest and you want the court to believe that?

A-Yes, I want the court to believe that.

Q- In your evidence-in-chief you said that you were supposed to receive the money for the purchase of the boat the following Monday before you were arrested?

A-Yes, I said so.

Q- And it was when you were under arrest that the Gambian investigation team visited you (PW2) at the detention centre in Bissau?


Q- And your statement of the 16th December 2009 have your date of detention on the 17th December 2009?


Q- Do you know when was Tobaski day in 2009?

A-I cannot remember the date.

Q- I am putting it to you that Tobaski day 2009 was the 27th November 2009?

A-I can't remember.

Q- According to your evidence, the alleged coup plot was to take place on Tobaski day?


Q- Your arrest and detention, was it before or after the so-called training?

A-It was after the training.

Q- How were you (PW2) supposed to receive the money for the purchase of the boat?

A-Ngorr Secka and Kukoi called me, and told me through which bank they will send me the money in my name in Bissau. Since I (PW2) have my Bissau Identity Card.

Q- In Ebrima Marreh's evidence-in-chief he said all the three meetings took place in Lang Tombong's house?

A-He said it, not me.

Q- I am putting it to you that Ngorr Secka never met you at the Samaritan restaurant?

A-We met each other there several times, and there was a boy who used to lead him (Ngorr Secka) because the 6th accused person cannot speak Creole.

Q- I am putting to you that Kabirou Saidy, who you (PW2) identified in the photograph, stated in a statement on the 31st December 2009, that the only person Ngorr Secka met at the Samaritan restaurant was Omar Camara, a former APRC candidate.

At this juncture, the DPP again objected on the basis that the defence cannot ask the witness about the statement of another person who has not come before the court.

Lawyer Secka rejected the DPP's application, arguing that whether it was the witness’'s statement or not the matter was to put defence evidence to the witness.

The court ruled that earlier on the witness (PW2) had said that he did meet with the 6th accused person at the said restaurant. The judge ruled that the defence cannot contradict the witness with another person's statement.

Q- You stated that 1st and 3rd accused persons used to call you from their cell-phones in The Gambia, while you were in Bissau?

A-I said it.

Q- Did you also give the court your phone number which 1st and 3rd accused persons used to called you?

A-I was not asked by the court, but I know the number.

Q- Is your Bissau number 6614040?

A-Yes, and I have other numbers including 5365851, but I cannot remember the others since I used to change numbers.

Q- Did the Bissau authorities or the Gambian authorities have a printout of your in-coming and out-going calls?

A-Yes, they have it.

Q- Did those printouts show that you (PW2) have received calls from Lang Tombong and Bo Badgie the 1st and 3rd accused persons respectively?

A-They always called me with a private number.

Q- Did you know, even if you are called with a private number the real number can be accessible and can be printed out by the company?

A-I did not know.

Q- You stated that one of the reasons for the alleged coup plot was that the President was putting women on a higher position of authority?

A-Yes, I said that.

Q- Do you know that Lang Tombong Tamba is the 5th holder of the position of CDS of the Gambia Armed Forces?

A-What I know, at that moment the 1st accused person was the CDS of the Gambia Armed Forces.

Q- I am putting to you that before the Lt. General Tamba was CDS the highest position a woman handle in the army was corporal. The court overruled this particular statement.

Q- I am putting it to you that it was during the tenure of Lt. General Tamba that women are promoted to Colonel?

A-How can I know, I was not in the country.

Q- Did you notice the presence of guards or soldiers at the compound of Lang Tombong and Bo Badgie?

A-I did not know.

Q- In your statement, you mentioned that at the meeting at the 1st accused person's compound you (PW2) saw two men in camouflage?

A-Yes, I said so, but I did not know whether they are soldiers or not.

Q- You made a statement on the 8th of February 2010?

A-I did not remember the date.

Q- But you remember making a statement about the motive of the alleged coup plot?


Q- I put it to you that the statement was made on the 8th February 2010?

A-I said I cannot remember the date.

Q- Where did you make the statement?

A-At the NIA headquarters.

Q- I am putting it to you that you said in that statement you were called at the DPP's office where you were asked by him (DPP) whether you know why General Tamba and others want to stage the alleged coup?

A-I asked to see the DPP, and explained to him why they did not put the motives of the alleged coup in my statement. I was asked to go to the NIA headquarters for them to add that part of evidence in my statement, because I told them before, but they did put it in my statement.

Q- You called yourself an expert in Military Intelligence?

A- Yes.

Q- As an expert in military intelligence, don't you know that the Director General of NIA has a direct contact with the President.

A-That is how it should be, but this one it was not; you must call the Secretary General, Office of the President, and set an appointment for the Director General of the NIA to see the President.

Q- Did you know the name of the Director General of NIA?

A-Yes, his name is Numo Kujabi, and he is still the incumbent Director.

Q- When you made this report, how many days was it before the alleged coup was to take place?

A-I cannot remember.

Q- When did you return to The Gambia after your third meeting with Lang Tombong in his house?

A-I cannot remember.

Q- Did you know that Lang Tombong and Bo Badgie were arrested on the 20th November 2009?

A-I did not remember the date. I knew about their arrest when I was here.

Q- What do you mean when you were here; was it when you were here to give your statement?


Q- And you gave your statement on the 16th December 2009?

A-I cannot remember.

Q- When and where did you get the information that 1st and 3rd accused persons were arrested?

A-When I was in Bissau in detention.

Q- While you were in The Gambia you were using a Q-Cell number from which you alleged 1st and 3rd accused persons were calling you?

A-Yes, I was using 3994440.

Q- Did you see a printout of your number?


Q- I put it to you that it is not correct?

A-It is correct.

Q- I put it to you that Ngorr Secka, the 6th accused, never discussed any coup plot with you?

A-Of course.

Q- I put it to you further that Ngorr Secka was never an intermediary between you and Kukoi Samba Sanyang and the 1st and the 3rd accused persons?

A-Of course, he was.

Q- I further put it to you that Ngorr Secka does not know where Bambadinka is in Bissau?

A-Of course, he knows because every Friday he (6th accused person) used to stay there at the training ground from Friday to Sunday night and return to Bissau.

Q- This is where there are no houses?


Q- And it was during the raining season?


Q-You said one of your work is to sell drugs seize from the Bissau Government?

A-I said at that time the Minister of Interior, the Minister of Defence and that Chief of the Army Staff were my friends. And any drug  (cocaine) they were having for sale, I sell it and get my commission.

Q- I put it to you that you are a drug dealer?


Q- You are aware of the destructive nature of drugs in the society?


Q- Was Basirou Darboe your friend?


Q- He was assassinated before the last election in Bissau?


Q- Your alleged meeting with Ngorr Secka, did it take place before or after the assassination of Basirou Darboe?

A-I cannot remember.

Q- Do you remember when the last election took place in Guinea Bissau?

A-I cannot remember.

Q- I put it to you that Guinea-Bissau's last presidential election took place in June 2009.

A-I don't remember.

Q- If you were receiving your drugs from Basirou Darboe who died before the last Presidential election held in June 2009, from whom did you receive your drug you sold to Ngorr Secka?

A-The market is wide, but I can tell you one Mamadou Trawally, but I cannot tell you the others, because it is my business and I don't know their names.

Q- Can you tell the court who the other names are?

A-Mamadou Trawally and the others. I did not know about them.

Q- Are you telling the court that the cocaine you (PW2) sold to Ngorr Secka was obtained from Mamadou Trawally?

A-I cannot tell who gave me the drug, because the quantity I had was much.

Q- Do you remember saying in your evidence-in-chief that Lt. General Tamba introduced you to one Ebrima Marreh?

A-Yes, I said so.

Q- In your statement, written on the 23rd December 2009, you said that you only knew Ebrima Marreh at the NIA?

A-Yes, I said so.

Q- Mr. Kujabi is Captain Jallow still at State House?

A-I don't know, if you want to know you can go to State House.

This response made by Mr. Kujabi (Rui Jabbi Gassama) did not go down well with the court, which severely warned him to behave himself properly while in court or face the full wrath of the law. Justice Armadi further asked the witness to apologies to defence counsel, which he (PW2) did.

Q- Did you say you identified 1st and 3rd accused persons on one of the pictures you were shown in Guinea Bissau?

A-I did not say that.

Q- Did you say that when you were in The Gambia you bought one of the newspapers where the faces of Lang Tombong and Bo Badgie appeared on the front-page?

A- Yes, I said so.    

The case continues today.