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NIA officer testifies in Teranga FM MD trial

Sep 4, 2015, 10:22 AM | Article By: Halimatou Ceesay

Foday L. Bojang, an NIA officer, yesterday testified as the first prosecution witness (PW1) in the trial involving the Managing Director of Teranga FM Radio, Alagie Aboulie Ceesay, before Justice Mohammed Dan Azumi Balarabe of the Banjul High Court.

Alagie Aboulie Ceesay was indicted on a seven-count charge ranging from six counts of sedition to one count of false publication of news.

When the case was called, defence counsel Combeh Gaye-Coker announced her representation for the accused, while the Director of Public Prosecutions, DPP, represented the state.

The DPP then informed the court that the case was set for hearing, and their witness was in court ready to proceed.

The witness was then called to enter the witness box and when the clerk approached him to swear by the Holy Quran before testifying, the witness said he would not swear by the Quran, but would affirm instead. He then raised his hand and swore.

Testifying, the intelligence operative told the court that he is working at the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) investigation unit, adding that he knew the accused person in the dock as he was arrested and brought to their office for questioning.

On 20 July 2015, the accused person was arrested and brought to the office for questioning in connection with text messages he sent to two protocol officers, he said.

“I was instructed by my immediate boss, Lamin Ceesay, to obtain a cautionary statement from him.

“He was brought before me, and I read the cautionary wordings to him in the presence of an independent witness. He recorded his own cautionary statements which he signed. I asked him to read it over again to confirm, which he did and signed,” said the intelligence officer.

He added that the independent witness also signed.

On 27 July 2015, he was again instructed by the same boss to record the voluntary statement from the accused person.

He took the particulars and wrote the charge and read over to him, and then gave the accused the statement to respond to the charge, he said, adding that the accused person recorded his statement and did not agree to the charge, but signed, the independent witness signed and he (the witness) also signed.

He identified the statements in court, and the DPP applied to tender the statements as court exhibits.

However, the defence counsel objected to the tendering of the voluntary statement on the grounds that it was a photocopy.

The DPP then said he would withdraw it; which he did.

The cautionary statement was then tendered in court and marked in evidence as an exhibit, but the voluntary statement was withdrawn by the DPP.

The witness further stated that witnesses were called, and statements were obtained from them.

Under cross-examination by defence counsel Combeh Gaye-Coker, the witness was asked whether apart from obtaining the cautionary and voluntary statements from the accused, he personally did nothing in this case.

“No,” he answered.

“It is your oral evidence in court that the accused did not agree to the charge?” counsel asked.

“Yes,” he said.

DPP then said they were applying for an adjournment to call other witnesses.

Counsel Gaye-Coker said she was not objecting to the DPP’s application for an adjournment, but they had a pending application for bail, which was a repeat bail application.

“I have just been served with the respondent’s affidavit in opposition even though the DPP received the bail application since on Monday,” she said.

“I am applying for a stand down so that we can come back in the afternoon to hear the bail.”

DPP said if counsel was ready to hear the application then she could do so, but not in the afternoon.

The case was then adjourned until Monday 7 September 2015.