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Judiciary prayer day affects treason trial

Jan 14, 2011, 12:48 PM | Article By: Sainey M.K. Marenah

The treason trial involving the former chief of defence staff, Lang Tombong Tamba, and Sarjo Fofana, ex-chief of naval staff, failed to proceed yesterday at the Special Criminal Court in Banjul, before Justice Ikpala.

The accused persons, who were both present in court amid tight security, were later told that the case could not proceed, as the Judiciary had convened a pray day at the Supreme Court complex in Banjul.

The case was subsequently adjourned, and is to continue on 18 January 2011.

Tamba and Fofana are being tried in connection with the 21st March 2006 abortive coup attempt allegedly masterminded by the ex-CDS Col. Ndure Cham.

The accused persons, who have both denied the charges, are facing four counts of treason, conspiracy to commit treason and concealment of treason.

The witnesses called by prosecution so far included Major Momodou Alieu Bah (PW1) Timothy Sanyang (PW4), a military officer, Momomdou Sowe, a police detective attached to the major crime unit of the Gambia police force, one Manneh, a security officer, Yahya Darboe and Bunja Darboe.

In a separate development, the trial of ex-IGP Ensa Badjie, on 51 counts, and two ex-senior military officers, Major Kuluteh Manneh and Lt Colonel Mam Matarr Secka, could also not proceed at the high court in Banjul, before Justice Amadi.

The case was scheduled for the 1st accused, Ensa Badjie, to open his defence in a voire dire trial, but was subsequently adjourned to a later date due to the Judiciary's day of prayer.

The ex-police chief and senior military officers are facing multiple criminal charges including conspiracy to commit felony, economic crime, abuse of office, obtaining goods by false pretence, obtaining money by false pretence, and sedition, among others.