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Jabang Alkalo continues testimony in Moses Richards trial

Apr 20, 2011, 3:25 PM | Article By: Bakary Samateh

Pa Ebrima Colley, the alkalo (village head) of Jabang village, yesterday continued his testimony in the trial of Moses B. Johnson Richards at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court before acting Principal Magistrate Alagba.

Richards is being tried for the offence of giving false information to a public officer and for sedition.

At yesterday’s proceedings, defence counsel Antouman Gaye told the witness to look at the statements, and asked whether he could recognize them, and the witness confirmed the statements as the ones obtained from him at the NDEA’s main office in Kanifing.

He said the statements were obtained from him by one Commissioner Ebrima Jammeh alias Kunki at the NDEA office, where he was asked to report.

The two statements obtained from Alkalo Pa Ebrima Colley were later tendered and admitted as defence exhibits.

When further asked to explain what transpired in the village of Jabang in 2007, Colley said that, in 2007, he was at work when he received a telephone call from his village that the court officers came to the village, and they were throwing out properties of the villagers.

“Upon receiving this information, I rushed to the village to find out what was wrong. I found that the Police Intervention Unit were many in the village. I also found one Mr. Ndow, who claimed to be a court officer. I asked him why the officers were throwing people’s properties out.”

Ndow, he continued, told him that they are from the high court in Banjul.

“I told him that I’m the head of Jabang village, but I’ m not aware of any suit against my village,” he said.

Mr. Ndow further informed him that there was a court order to evict the villagers and their properties, Pa Colley went on.

“I then called the Paramount Chief, Demba Sanyang, to inform him about the incident, who also told me that he was never aware of any suit against the village of Jabang,” the Jabang alkalo further told the court.

He added: “I drove to Banjul to inform the then Minister of Local Government and Lands, Ismaila Sambou, about the problem.”

When defence counsel asked him what the Minister said or did, Colley told the court that the minister told him he was also not aware of any suit against his village, but later made a phone call to someone, whom he did not know.

The minister, Pa Colley said, then asked him to go back to the village, otherwise the problem would get worse and, on his return to the village, he found one Junkung Colley engaged in a push and pull with Mr. Ndow.

He added that Mr. Colley asked how can these people come here to evict people from their houses, because he was part of the investigating team and a report was submitted to the authorities concerned.

Counsel then asked the witness who asked him to get a lawyer to write a letter on his behalf, and Pa Colley told the court that the Solicitor General, Pa Harry Jammeh, had told him to get the services of a lawyer who should write a letter on his behalf within three days.

He said: “I then went to see the accused, to help me write the letter for me, which he did. But, before writing anything, the accused told me I needed something clear. I make a phone call to Mr. Colley to speak with him (Richards) to convince him more as to the true story of what had happened in the village in 2007. I gave the phone to Moses Richards to speak with Mr. Colley, and after the accused voluntarily wrote a letter for me.”

The case was subsequently adjourned to 21st April 2011.