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In treason trial, Ex-DIG Gaye testifies

Jun 10, 2010, 1:32 PM | Article By: Sainey M.K. Marenah

The fifth defence witness, Modou Gaye, former Deputy Inspector General of Police, in the ongoing treason trial involving him and seven others, yesterday testified in his own defence, before Justice Emmanuel Amadi of the High Court in Banjul.

Testifying as DW5, Modou Gaye told the court that he lives in Brusubi, and that his former occupation was police officer, and the former deputy Inspector General of Police.

"I joined the Gambia Gendarmerie in 1982, which was later amalgamated with the Gambia Police Force in 1993."

"I was with the police until 24th November 2009, when I was dismissed from the police force," the former deputy IGP told the court.

"I know the charges preferred against me, and I deny all the charges against me, because they are all false and a fabrication," he told the court.

On 20th November 2009, he added, "I was chairing the senior management meeting of the Gambia Police Force at police headquarters, when I received a telephone call from the former Inspector General of Police (Ensa Badjie), who asked me to meet him at NIA headquarters."

He adduced that, on arrival at the office of the Director General NIA, "I found a group of people at the waiting room of the NIA DG, among them, the former IGP (Ensa Badjie), and a young man seated near him who was later identified to be Ebrima Marreh (PW1)."

"Then the former IGP (Ensa Badjie) said to me: "this young man told me that you gave him my telephone number? and I was totally surprised about the question. Because, I said, "somebody I did not know, how can I give him your number."

Then the former IGP (Ensa Badjie) asked Ebrima Marreh whether he knows me, and Ebrima Marreh replied that "he does not know me," he further testified.

The fifth defence witness adduced that the former IGP (Ensa Badjie) was annoyed with Ebrima Marreh, "and told me to go back to the office to take care of the office," because Ebrima Marreh "is a liar," Modou Gaye told the court, adding that the former IGP (Ensa Badjie) later apologised to him.

He further testified that the Director General of the NIA told him that the very first time he met Ebrima Marreh was in the former IGP's (Ensa Badjie) office. "I then left the NIA headquarters, and went back to the office to complete my work," he added.

When I completed my work, and after Friday prayers, "I received a call from the NIA Director General that I should go to the NIA headquarters. He also passed the phone to the former IGP (Ensa Badjie), who told me that I should report to the NIA office. Upon arrival at the NIA Director General's office, I found the former deputy CDS, Yankuba Drammeh, former IGP (Ensa Badjie), the Director General of the NIA himself and other NIA officers."

"The former IGP (Ensa Badjie) told me that Ebrima Marreh had made another statement that he knew me through the residence of the 1st accused," he told the court.

"I told the former IGP (Ensa Badjie) that you yourself questioned Ebrima Marreh in the morning, and Ebrima Marreh told you that he did not know me. How can he change his statement?" DW5 told the court.

"Former IGP (Ensa Badjie) told me that he gave Ebrima Marreh punches until he (Ensa Badjie) sustained a swollen hand, for Ebrima Marreh to change his statement made against them, that is, the former IGP (Ensa Badjie), former deputy CDS Yankuba Drammeh and the present Director General of the NIA," he further revealed.

Modou Gaye said the former IGP (Ensa Badjie) also told him that the first allegation made by Ebrima Marreh against them was that he (Ensa Badjie), former deputy CDS, Yankuba Drammeh and the present Director General of the NIA had sent him to Farafenni.

According to Modou Gaye, "the former IGP (Ensa Badjie) further stated where on earth did you see a police officer being involved in a coup?"

He said later in that evening, "I was brought before a panel, and the panelists asked what was my relationship with Ebrima Marreh. I told the panel that I don't have any relationship with Ebrima Marreh, because I did not know him and I have never seen him."

DW5 testified that Ebrima Marreh was later brought to the panel, and was asked whether he knew him, and he (Marreh) said "Yes." 

"I told Ebrima Marreh that I don't know you, and we have never met," he adduced. "I further told the former IGP (Ensa Badjie) that 'you confronted me with Ebrima Marreh in the morning and said he did not know me, which was confirmed to the panel by the former IGP (Ensa Badjie). He said Ebrima Marreh stated that he knew him at the 1st accused person's residence in Kololi where we have lunch every Sunday."

"I replied to Ebrima Marreh that 'I don't know you and I have never been attending any Sunday lunch at the 1st accused residence'. The only time I went to the residence of the 1st accused was in 2008, a day after the Tobaski prayers," he added.

"My purpose of going to the 1st accused's residence was a lunch hosted in honour of the Pakistani military team, of which all the service chiefs and their deputies were invited, and that I was the deputy IGP then," he stated.

"I also told the panel that all what I know about Ebrima Marreh was narrated to me by the former IGP (Ensa Badjie)," he revealed.

"On 19th November 2009, while I was in my office, the former IGP (Ensa Badjie) called me to his office, and told me that one Ebrima Bojang was arrested in Farafenni, who was later identified as Ebrima Marreh. The former IGP (Ensa Badjie) gave me his telephone to call the Farafenni Police Station for the said Ebrima Bojang to be brought to Banjul, but it was later discovered that Ebrima Bojang was arrested by the military."

Still testifying in his own defence, DW5 told the court that "the former IGP (Ensa Badjie) asked me whether I can remember when we were having dinner at Cocoa Ocean Hotel with some UN official, and he left me there with senior management of the Gambia Police Force, that he was called by one JT Kujabi, that he should meet with somebody at Serekunda." He said the former IGP (Ensa Badjie) told him that it was on that day that he met with Ebrima Marreh at the Serekunda Police Station. 

"The following day, I travelled to Abuja to attend the ECOWAS Chiefs of Police meeting," he stated.

"The former IGP (Ensa Badjie) told me that he took Ebrima Marreh with his own vehicle to visit the police station, police headquarters and police barracks that were under renovation, that he (Ebrima Marreh) was sent by the President on his behalf. All this was said to me by the former IGP (Ensa Badjie), on the 19th November 2009, when Ebrima Marreh was arrested in Farafenni,"  Modou Gaye told the court.

He said on 19th November 2009, apart from the call he made to Farafenni Police Station on the phone of the former IGP (Ensa Badjie), he did not do any other thing.

Ebrima Marreh had never made any call to him, neither did he make any call to Ebrima Marreh on 19th November 2009.

The Ex-DIG also denied attending any meeting at the 1st accused's residence, as alleged by the PW1 (Ebrima Marreh), adducing further that he and the 1st accused had a telephone conversation, based on official matters and Gambia Football Association programmes.

DW5 also denied giving Ebrima Marreh money and credit for his mobile phone, stating that he did not know nor ever seen Ebrima Marreh until they were confronted at the NIA.

He also denied the allegation that he told PW1 to pass through Yundum Barracks to observe a meeting, adding that it was not true that he told PW1 that when he is arrested let him mention the name of the former IGP, Ensa Badjie. He said his telephone printouts are there to show that he had no contact with PW1.

Relationship with 8th accused

"I know the 8th accused because he was a patron of sports, especially football. I also lived near his brother in Kotu for two years. I have never attended a meeting with the 8th accused."

About the 7th accused

"I knew the 7th accused in Banjul as a retired police officer, and a clearing agent. I have never had contacts with the 7th accused."

On the 6th accused

"I know the 6th accused as a former intelligence agent of the National Intelligence Agency, and we used to play football in the Armed Forces football team. I had no contacts with the 6th accused."

On the 4th accused

"I knew him through the then Gambia National Gendarmerie. I had no contact with him, even during official functions, and I had no official relationship with the 4th accused."

On the 3rd accused

"I knew the 3rd accused when he was the DG of the NIA, and I had a working relationship with him. I had no contact with him."  

Relationship with the 1st accused

"I knew the 1st accused through the then Gambia National Gendarmerie. When he joined as a recruit, I was a training instructor at the training school. We had a working relationship, the 1st accused, when he was the CDS and I was DIG of police, and also at the GFA." He said he stands by his statements.

At DPP's office

Modou Gaye further adduced that: "on the 10th of February 2010, we were collected from Mile 2 to the Attorney-General's Chambers, where I was taken to the DPP's office. We both greeted each other, as we had a working relationship. DPP told me that the charges against us are very serious, and asked if I wished to make a witness statement so that I could be released, if I testified about the alleged coup plot. I told him that in as much as I needed my freedom, I couldn't be a party to something that does not exist. The DPP told me that as far as I have rejected his offer, I can go back to where I was detained."

The witness was also cross-examined by DPP RN Chenge.    

The case continues today