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More Revelations In Immigration Officers' Case

Sep 15, 2009, 5:33 AM | Article By: Yai Dibba & Binta Fatty

The trial of 14 Immigration Officers attached at the Gambia International Airport, three other civilians and a Gambia Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) security officer, yesterday continued before Magistrate Fred Forster of the Brikama Magistrates' Court, with the testimony of the second prosecution witness, one Lamin Drammeh, a Police Officer attached at the Banjul International Airport.

His testimony follows that of the first prosecution witness, Cherno Bah, who made some startling revelations in his testimony before the court.

Testifying before the court, Lamin Drammeh told the court that he recognised all the accused persons.

He informed the court that the incident happened on 3rd July 2009, at the Banjul International Airport while he was at the station.

According to the witness, while on duty on that faithful day, he received a telephone call from the IGP that there is a passenger at the Apron, who wanted to travel without any valid document.

"I left with Sergeant Jarra at the Apron and upon our arrival there, we found that the passenger Ebrima Bah and the airline officer by the name Francis left to the Airport Terminal.

We followed them but upon our arrival there, we found out that Ebrima Bah was arrested alongside his brother Cherno Bah", he told the court, adding that they were later escorted to the Airport Police Station.

At the station, the second prosecution witness added, Ebrima Bah was interrogated and in the process, he mentioned one Sarjo Sonko's name. He also informed the court that it was at that juncture that Sarjo was called and confirmed that he was part of the deal.

"Later I was authorised by OC Darboe to escort Ebrima and Cherno Bah, together with the first accused Sarjo Sonko to the Yundum Police Station.

At the station, Sarjo again confessed to the Station Officer that he was part of the deal", Drammeh said.

He stated that it was after his confession at the station that Sarjo was cautioned in the presence of an independent witness and he(Sarjo) signed.

The case was at that juncture adjourned to 30th September for continuation.

The accused persons, according to the charge sheet, on or about the 3rd July 2009, at the Gambia International Airport within the jurisdiction of the court, allegedly forged an international passport in order to dishonestly enable one Ebrima Bah, to travel to the United States of America, and thereby committed an offence.

In count two, they were alleged to have conspired to commit official corruption.

According to the charge sheet, the accused being public officers employed in the public services of The Gambia, charged with the duties of screening passengers traveling at the Airport, allegedly conspired among themselves and others still at large, to corruptly receive a bribery of ten thousand and five hundred Dalasi (D10, 500) from one Cherno Bah in order to enable his brother Ebrima Bah dishonestly use a forged passport to travel to U.S.A, and thereby committed an offence.