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NIA officer cross-examined in UDP militant’s trial

Jan 21, 2014, 10:01 AM | Article By: Malamin L.M. Conteh

Kebba Secka, an officer of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), was yesterday cross-examined in the criminal trial involving one Lasanna Jobarteh, a UDP militant, before Principal Magistrate Ibrahim Kijera of the Bundung Magistrates’ Court.

The accused person, Lasana Jobarteh, is charged with broadcasting without a license contrary to the Information and Communication Act.

Prosecutors accused Lasana Jobarteh that between 14 and 15 December 2013, while attending UDP political rallies at Buffer Zone in the KMC and Brikama and diverse places, talked on Skype using on IPOD and give information to abroad without a broadcastinglicenseand thereby committed an offence.

Responding to questions from the defence counsel, Ousainou Darboe, the witness told the court that he heard a radio station called Freedom Radio Station, and Kibaro Radio Station, but never heard of any radio station called Hellow Gambia, and Gainako.

Asked whether Freedom and Kibaro Radio Stations were operating from The Gambia, he answered in the negative.

He further admitted that he heard about BBC Radio Station and Canal France International Radio Station.

Quizzed again by the defence counsel whether there were instances when he, the witness, heard a BBC correspondent reporting from The Gambia, he answered in the negative.

He was also asked whether he has not heard certain prominent Gambian personalities being interviewed on BBC, and he said, ‘No’.

It was put to him that concerning the EU-17 points, some government officials gave their opinion to BBC.

The prosecuting officer, 3533 Jarju, then objected to that line of examination, but was subsequently overruled.

The court asked the witness to answer the question, and the witness said he did not hear government officials giving their opinions on BBC.

The witness also stated that he never heard Abdou Njie on GRTS reporting when he travelled with the President abroad, but admitting hearing Peter Gomez broadcasting a sports programme on West Coast Radio.

Asked whether Mr Gomez has a licence to broadcast by counsel, who added that he was not referring to the West Coast Radio, the witness said he did not know, but the radio station has a licence.

Asked whether he brought the list of all radio stations in The Gambia, as promised, the witness answered in the affirmative and produced the list.

The defence counsel, at that juncture, applied to tender the list of all the radio stations in The Gambia.

The prosecutor objected to the tendering of the list, but his objection was overruled.

The list of all the radio stations in The Gambia was admitted in evidence, as an exhibit.

The witness added that the list does not show that Skype is a radio station.

Asked where the I-Pod used by the accused to broadcast was, the witness stated that he did not know.

Did you find out that all the radio stations in The Gambia have licence to broadcast?The witness responded that during the investigation he did not find out.

Further asked whether from 2012 to date, they have prosecuted any media house for broadcasting without a licence, the witness said that he did not know.

The case was then adjourned to 5 February 2014, for continuation of the hearing.