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Narcotics officer testifies in Ensa Badjie and co trial

Jul 7, 2011, 12:47 PM | Article By: Malamin Conteh

The trial involving former police chief Ensa Badjie and two other former senior military officers, Major Kuluteh Manneh and Lt. Col Mam Matarr Secka, yesterday continued at the high court in Banjul before Justice Amadi.

Testifying for the prosecution, PA Habibou Mbye, an officer of the National Drug Enforcement Agency, NDEA, told the court that he recognised all the accused persons.

He said that in 2008, he was taken to KMC, as the chairman of the taskforce committee on community policing, and the resource persons were from the Police, Immigration and the Drug Squad, adding that it took them almost two months to finish the exercise.

Mbye added that during and after the exercise, people were giving him information, but in March 2009, somebody came into his office and introduced himself as one Francis, and asked for Pa Habibou Mbye.

“I told him that I am Pa Habibou, and I welcomed him. He told me that Sillaba Samateh, who is living at Brusubi, told him that the President has given him a large quantity of cocaine drugs to sell. After Francis finished narrating his story, I invited one Idrish Masade, and I told Francis to repeat what he has said, and he repeated it before Idrish,” he added.

“I was not comfortable with the story. I then assigned Masade to go out and confirm. He came and told me that he has confirmed it,” Mbye further told the court.

The witness added that he pleaded with one Charles Okeke  and Idrish to go to Sillaba Samateh, but when they told him that they have confirmed the story to be true, he gave Idrish a Nokia phone with which he recorded the conversation of Sillaba Samateh, and the conversation was downloaded in a CD.

He further stated that he went to see the National Assembly Majority Leader, Fabakary Tombong Jatta, in the accompany of Charles Okeke and Idrish Masade, adding that Charles and Idrish explained what Sillaba has told them, and Fabakary took them to Antouman Saho.

“Everything was explained to Antouman Saho, who was the then Minister of Water Resources, who later forwarded the case to the appropriate authorities, and we were later called to Antouman’s office, where we met Ensa Badjie and the then NIA director,” Mbye testified.

“The Minister said he was asked to instruct Ensa Badjie and the then NIA director to investigate the matter,” he continued, adding that they were called at Kotu Police, and the investigators said they would detain Idrish and Charles.

“I told them that if they were to detain Charles and Idrish, let them also detain me. We were then released, and asked to report to Police headquarters. At Police headquarters, we met Sillaba, and we all faced the investigation panel,” he adduced.

He added that the investigators decided that Idrish and Charles would be charged for giving false information, but he insisted that if they were to charge Idrish and Charles, then they must also charge him.

“I was later charged with them for giving false information at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court. One day, we were invited at the NIA office and we gave our statements, and we were later released,” he added. The case continues.