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Prisons DG gave food for convicts witness tells court

Sep 8, 2011, 1:40 PM | Article By: Bakary Samateh

Lamin Jarju, fifth prosecution witness, yesterday told the Banjul Magistrates’ Court that David Colley, Director General of Prison, used to give him food to take it to Batch Faye and Lang Tombong Tamba, both inmates at Mile 2 Central Prison.

Jarju was testifying in the trial involving four senior prison officers, Abdoulie Bojang, Solo Manga, Buba Badjie and Bakary Jammeh, who are being tried on charges of destroying evidence, giving unauthorized communications to inmate and corruption.

Abdoulie Bojang, who faces three charges, was alleged to have removed a cell phone card in a Samsung cell phone recovered from prison, knowing it could be used as evidence in court.

He was also alleged to have introduced prohibited articles into the prison, and given cell phone to inmates, namely, Batch Samba Faye and former chief of defence staff Lang Tombong Tamba.
Solo Manga and Buba Badjie are facing similar allegations of providing cell phones to inmates, while Bakary Jammeh, the fourth accused person, was alleged to have corruptly received D100 from Ousman Ndow to show favour to Alieu Bah, an inmate.

Testifying under cross-examination, Jarju told the court that he was convicted and sentenced to five years in prison for house-breaking and stealing, after he pleaded guilty to the charge.

He denied that his father was the complainant in the case, but instead one Kebba Kumo.

He responded in the affirmative, when it was put to him that, for one of his offences, he was fined D4,000 in default to serve a one-year jail term, while for the other offence, he was sentenced to four years.

He revealed that he served some of his jail term at Janjanbureh prison, but he was later transferred to Mile 2 Central Prison.

“I later appealed my conviction and it was reduced to four years. This four years was substituted to a fine of D20,000 in default to serve the four years,” he further told the court.

Jarju added that he was given a red band by David Colley within two years.

Quizzed by the defence counsel as to how he got access to David Colley, while in the cell, Jarju told the court that he was being escorted by Solo Manga.

Still testifying under cross-examination, he told court that he used to wash David’s car and clean his office every morning around 6.30 a.m. from Monday to Friday.

Defence counsel Kombeh Gaye asked whether it was correct that David Colley reported for work by 8 o’clock, and Jarju said he did not know about that.

“I know before he reaches, I do normally finish cleaning his office,” he told the court.

Still testifying, PW5 further told the court that he had access to the remand wing, main gate, garden and security wing of the prison.

However, counsel put it to him that no prisoner is allowed to walk freely within the prison, most particularly the security wing, but the witness said, “I do go there myself, without an escort.”

He said sometimes people are booked when they come into the prison, but not always, adding that he takes food from the main gate to the security wing.

PW5 further told the court that sardine and corned beef used to be booked by the officers at the main gate, but the rice used to come at the back gate with D1, 500 each basin.

He said Sainey Tamba used to bring rice for his father, Lang Tombong Tamba.

When defence counsel put it to him that Sainey Tamba was confronted with him (the witness) at Holgam, but Sainey Tamba denied knowing him, in reply Jarju said one Mustapha Cham an inmate confirmed that Sainey Tamba knew him.

He said apart from cleaning David Colley’s office, he (Colley) sent him to take food and mobile phones to inmates at the security wing.

Counsel put it to him that when he was confronted with Mr. Colley, Colley denied knowing him, but the witness’s response was that Mr. Colley knew what he did, and that was why he denied knowing him.

He said it was correct that Yusuf Ezziden alias Rambo was sentenced to death by the high court in Banjul, adding that he also heard it over the news that Lang Tombong Tamba was appealing his conviction at the court of appeal.

“I do see the vehicle when they were taking them to court, but I could not remember the dates,” he said.

When it was put to him that at the time of Lang Tombong Tamba and his co accused persons’ trial, the security wing used to be very tight and that nobody was allowed there, the witness’s response was, “I do go there.”

Asked what kind of food it was, he said it was rice stew and steak.

He said Sainey Tamba used to bring food for his father, Lang Tombang Tamba, and Sirah Jallow used to bring food for Ensa Badjie twice in a week during working hours.

He said he knew Abdoulie Bojang, as he was the chief officer prior to this problem and he was the head of the security wing, adding he was later transferred.

Counsel then put it to him that the evidence he adduced against Abdoulie Bojang was just a fabrication, because Abdoulie Bojang had access to the accused persons, and if he wanted to give a phone to Lang Tombong Tamba and Batch Faye, there was no need for him to give it to him.

The witness’s response was that, when they come for their normal breaks, there are many people present, and so Bojang could not give them the phones in front of people, and this was why he gave them to him.

He maintained that he normally collected food from the main gate to the security wing and each basin accompany with D1, 500.

“I took the D500 and David Colley took the D1, 000. I hide my D500 very safely so that prison officers would not see it,” PW5 revealed under cross-examination.

He said he saw Yusuf Ezziden, alias Rambo signing a Trust Bank cheque for David Colley when he was coming from cleaning his toilet and he also asked Rambo who confirmed it to him that he was signing a cheque for David Colley.

He said the said Trust Bank cheque was bearing the name of David Colley, but Ezziden was the signatory to the cheque and Ezziden, alias Rambo, was being escorted to David office’s by Bakary Warf Kujabi.

The case at that juncture was adjourned till 19th September 2011.

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