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Prison inspector testifies in officers’ case

May 17, 2012, 2:01 PM | Article By: Bakary Samateh

Inspector Lamin Faal, a prison officer, attached to the Gambia Prisons Department yesterday testified under cross-examination in the case involving four senior officers of the Prisons Department at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court.

The officers are Abdoulie Bojang, Solo Manga, Buba Badjie and Bakary Jammeh (at large), all being tried for conspiracy to bring prohibited articles into the prison.

Inspector Faal told the court that he served for the Prisons department for 27 years, pointing out that the Prisons Act does not allow any prisons officers to go to an inmate’s family to collect provisions on behalf of the inmate.

Asked whether toothpaste and other body hygiene articles are allowed into the prison after booking them at the gate, he replied in the affirmative, saying they are among authorized items allowed by the Prisons Act.

Defence counsel further put it to him that it indicates nowhere in the prison Act that officers are prohibited to collect provision from the family of inmates out of humanitarian grounds.

The witness further told the court that the Prisons Act even prohibits officers collect information, more so going to the family of inmates as this is against the rules.

However, he admitted under cross-examination that some prisoners enjoyed more privileges than others.

When it was further put to him that, as a prisons officer, you can collect provisions for inmates, as long as you do not ask or receive any favours from the family,  the witness in response said the Prisons Act makes it very clear that no officer should carry any items into the prison.

The case was then adjourned till 31 May 2012, for hearing to continue.