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In treason trial, Omar Bun Mbye speaks

Jun 4, 2010, 1:41 PM | Article By: Sainey M.K. Maraneh

Brig. Gen. Omar Bun Mbye yesterday testified in his own defence in the treason trial involving him and seven others.

Testifying before Justice Emmanuel Amadi at the High Court in Banjul, Omar Bun Mbye who is the 2nd accused person, told the court that before the 20th November 2009 his address was Brusubi.

"My last employment was in the military and my rank was a Brig. Gen," he stated. "I ceased to be a military officer on 9th October 2009," he told the court. "I was enlisted in the military on 30th January 1985, and I have not work anywhere apart from the military, and I have been a member of the military for 24 years," Omar Bun Mbye further informed the court.

"I joined the military, because I was dedicated in my life to the security of the people, and my country. Before I was relieved from the service, I was the Director of Operation and Training. I was also the acting Deputy CDS when the then Deputy CDS was absent for one year. During this period, "I had a working relationship with the 1st, 3rd and the 4th accused persons," he revealed.

"The first accused as my superior, we only relate on the job, and on our day to day routine work, national events and military functions, and we mostly get in torch in the performance of these functions by mobile phone," he adduced. "The third accused we also maintain the work relationship, similarly, day to day routine work, national events and military functions and we mostly maintain those contacts by mobile phone. The fourth accused, only on national events," he stated.

"On 21st November 2009, in the earlier hours of the morning at 1 am, as I was sleeping when I heard a knock on my compound gate. I answer to the knock, and I realised that it was NIA officers," he adduced.

"I was then told I was wanted at the NIA for questioning, but instead of going to the NIA, I was taken to the Mile 2 State Central Prison. I was at Mile 2 for two weeks, before I was picked up again by the NIA and taken to the NIA headquarters, where I appeared before a penal consisting of the NIA Director General and other personnel," he informed the court.

"I was asked about my close associates in the military and civil populace. I responded that I maintained a good working relationship in the army, including with all the CDS, and that a close friend is a civilian by the name Pa Badou Loum residing at Kerr Serign," he stated.

"I was also asked whether I talked to the first accused, and I said I have never seen him or spoken to him since my dismissal," he added. "I only visited the first accused at his Kololi residence only once, that is, after the Koriteh prayers in the presence of Brig. Gen Ousman Badjie and Brig. Gen Ebrima Bah, as it was a traditional custom in the military to visit the CDS after prayers, so that we can pray for each other and also pray for the President and commander-in-chief of GAF," he told the court.

"I don't have any working relationship with the fifth accused, and that I did not make or receive any call from the fifth accused. The last time I saw the fifth accused was during the World Cup trophy show at the Independence Stadium in Bakau, and I did not speak to him," he revealed. "I did not have any contact with the sixth accused, not even by telephone, as well as the 7th accused. I did not also have any contact with the 8th accused even though the eighth accused attends military functions.

"After my third week at Mile 2, I was brought to the NIA headquarters again for the second time, and they mentioned one Ebrima Sanyang to me, and I said I have never seen him and I don't know him at all."

He said "later they brought Ebrima Sanyang himself and Ebrima Sanyang confirmed that he had never seen me, and does not know me. He said I look like a Nigerian, and the panel agreed, and they all laughed."

"I later saw him in court when he testified as PW1, and gave his name as Ebrima Marreh during his testimony. I was also asked by the panel about the funeral of the late father of the 1st accused, and I told them I attended the funeral along with the service chiefs at Siffoe village," he stated.

"The last question I was asked was about the Officers Mess in Kotu, and I told them that I visit the Officers Mess to buy takeaway food or with my family or Pa Badou Loum.

"I have never been confronted with any information to contradict what I told the panel," Brig. Gen Omar Bun Mbye told the court.

"On 1st February 2010, after mid-day, myself and the seventh accused were picked up from Mile 2 for the NIA headquarters, where we were taken to the NIA Director General's office, and present were senior NIA officers." Then the Director General NIA apologised for our wrong detention, and told us to take it in good faith. He also mentioned that HE the President and commander-in-chief of GAF have approved our release.

"The NIA Director General further explained that the decision was not taken alone, but by the panel and the whole panel together decided that we were very clear; there is nothing against us," he stated. Then we were released to go home, myself and the seventh accused person.

"On 2nd February 2010 at around 10 am, when I was having my breakfast, my phone rang and I was told to report to the NIA headquarters. Then I told who was calling that 'we were released yesterday, hope everything is all right?' and the one calling said 'yes', the NIA Director General wants to talk to you."

"Then I hired a taxi and reported to the NIA headquarters, and I was directed to the office of the Director of Operation, where I waited until around 4 pm, when I was told by the Director of Operation that we had been waiting so long, and he told us that the Director General of the NIA had nothing to tell us, as we were wanted by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). He further told us that as far as he was concerned, there is nothing against us and he did not know why the DPP is requesting us back, and he promised to follow us to the office of the DPP to know why we were called back."

OB Mbye said that later in the evening "we were taken to Mile 2, on the same day of 2nd February 2010." On 10th February 2010, myself, the first accused and the fifth accused were picked up at the Mile 2 Central Prison by the NIA officers and taken to the office of the DPP. We entered the office of the DPP, one after the other.

"The DPP told me that he was not happy why I was released, while the file was with him, and that he had to advise the President through the Ministry of Justice for our re-arrest," Omar Bun Mbye told the court. He told the court that the DPP later produced an NIA statement form, and said "let me accept taking part in a coup plot, and he would release me immediately. He also mentioned about a container of arms in Guinea Bissau," he added.

"I told him that nobody ever mentioned that to me, that it was news to me, and that the investigating body, that is, the NIA released me and had nothing against me. I also told the DPP that I hold and cherish the President and commander-in-chief of GAF and I am very obedient and a loyal citizen. But the DPP told me that he does not know about that, that he had a case and would take it to court," OB Mbye added.

"I can remember when Ebrima Marreh (PW1) started giving evidence and, when asked whether he knows all the accused persons, Ebrima Marreh replied that he did not know me. I made a statement in respect of this case, and I remember the statement being tendered in court," he added. "I stand by my statement," he declared.

Hearing into the case continues today.