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OC Fraud Squad testifies in abduction case

Nov 8, 2010, 10:48 AM | Article By: Malamin Conteh

Chief Superintendent Biran Jobe, officer commanding the fraud squad of the Gambia Police Force, last Thursday testified in the criminal trial involving six Nigerians and a Gambian accomplice, before the special criminal court.

The accused persons, Joseph Okeke, Nonso Mbosah, Anuwa Ibiam, Arinze Izuchukwu, Pius Patrick, both Nigerians, and Awa Touray, a Gambian, were alleged to have abducted one Justin Leibig, an Australian national, sometime in 2009 at Kololi to subject him to grievous harm. They vehemently denied the charges.

Jobe, who is the seventh prosecution witness, told the court that he has been working with the police for 28 years now, and he is the officer in charge of the fraud squad in Banjul.

"I could recognise all the accused persons, as I could remember seeing them at the Kotu police station and at the major crime unit in Banjul," he said, adding that he also knew the complainant Justin Leibig.

"On 9th February 2009, I was called by the then CMC Yankuba Sonko to his office, where I met two white men, a male and a female, but I could not remember their names," Jobe told the court.

He adduced that the two white guys identified themselves as detective officers from Australia, and they produced a document showing that one of their citizens was kidnapped in the Gambia, and that was the reason why they were in the Gambia.

He stated that the detectives also showed him a photograph of a white man seated on a wooden chair with his hands tied.

"They also produced a document showing that the kidnappers are asking for a ransom from the parents of Justin, and that some money was sent to the kidnappers in the Gambia through Western Union," PW7 told the court.

Chief Superintendent Jobe further adduced that the Australian detectives also showed him a document bearing the date of Justin’s arrival in the Gambia, and also produced a document showing the mobile number used by the kidnappers to communicate to the parents of the complainant.

"Former CMC Yankuba Sonko, ASP Ebrima Jabang, Ballo Jobe and myself left for Africell Mobile company along Kairaba Avanue with regard to the information we got," Jobe further revealed.

"We were unable to get the identity of the owner because of the new system. We printed out the number that the accused persons used to call," PW7 disclosed.

OC Jobe said: "We used that number to call people whether they know the owner of the number, but they could not trace it."

"We then started to call the numbers the kidnappers were using to communicate to the family of Justin, and they responded," he said, adding that "they then invited Kotu, Manjai, Bakoteh, Serrekunda, and Kairaba police stations into the investigation," he adduced.

He said most of the suspects were arrested on 9th February 2009 by the police, and they recovered Western Union transfer documents, two wrist watches and cash.

"The cash recovered was handed over to me and I in turn handed it over to OC Malamin Ceesay, and I wrote my statement to that effect," he added.

At that juncture, the state counsel, N Jallow, applied for an adjournment to enable her to continue with her witness.

However, defence counsel Sagarr Jahateh strongly objected to the application, submitting that any delay in the case would amount to a violation of the accused persons' right to a fair hearing.

Justice Ikpala overruled the defence counsel's objection, and adjourned the case till 8th November 2010.