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PW2 ends testimony in Cocaine 9 Trial

Oct 1, 2010, 11:44 AM | Article By: Bakary Samateh

The second prosecution witness, Mutar Jammeh, yesterday ended his testimony in the trial of nine foreign nationals who were recently arrested with two and half tonnes of cocaine reportedly worth one billion United States dollars in Bonto village Kombo East district, Western Region.

Concluding his testimony before the special narcotics court at the Banjul Magistrates' Court, PW2 told the court that one day he was chatting with a shopkeeper when he saw a truck passing carrying a container, heading towards the warehouse.

"A few minutes later, "I saw the 1st, 2nd accused persons and one Pepe in another vehicle following the truck to the warehouse," he said.

"The same day, I went to Gamtel transmitter in Bonto to charge my phone when I saw the 1st and 2nd accused persons together with Pepe, who is said to be at large, leaving the warehouse, though I did not talk to the first accused person."

Mr. Jammeh posited that upon the accused persons arrival at the warehouse the container was off-loaded, but could not ascertain what was in the container, and that this was before the rainy season.

He added that the Radio Gambia transmitter and the accused persons’ warehouse are not far from one another, as they share fence.

"Sometime in 2010," he added, "I saw the security vehicles passing, heading towards the warehouse, and this was after when the container was taken to the warehouse.

"I saw the 1st and 2nd accused persons almost a week before the arrival of the container, and Pepe was last seen at Bonto about two days before the arrival of the container."

Under the cross-examination by defence counsel LS Camara, Mr Jammeh told the court he is literate, and that he is a secondary school product who completed school in 1988. He added that he did not write his own statement instead somebody else wrote it for him at the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) in Banjul in 2010, but could remember the exact month.

"I knew the 1st accused person, and I knew him to be involved in the fishing industry for the shrimps season," he disclosed.

When asked by the counsel whether the warehouse is fenced, PW2 replied that the front part of the warehouse was fenced, but at the back was a barbed wire fence and a small house for the watchman, but added that he has never seen any security guard on duty.

Mr Jammeh pointed out that he saw the 1st and 2nd accused persons and one Pepe at around 7.30pm coming from the warehouse, on the day the container was brought.

PW2 further stated that the said big hole he earlier said he saw was on his second trip to the warehouse, with a driver to deposit sand.

"I found the brick layers were building a small house in the said big hole," he revealed.

He said he could remember talking to the second accused, Carlos Juan, when the 1st accused asked them to arrange some stones at the riverside.  The 2nd accused, he added, told him that the way they were arranging the stones was not correct.

When asked by counsel Camara whether the 2nd accused was also involved in the fishing industry, PW2 in response said he could not say, because he never saw the second accused doing some fishing work.

At that juncture Magistrate Nkea adjourned the hearing to 5 October 2010 for continuation.

The nine accused persons are: Ephriam Micheal Chiduben ,a Nigerian national, Juan Carlos Sanchez, Eric Bottini, Dose Fermin, Juan Carlos Diaz, and Esteaban Zavala, all Venezuelan nationals, George Sanchez a Mexican/Liberian national, as well as Rudy Rasoehamid Gazi and Dennis Wilgo Winter both Dutch nationals.

They all denied the charges.

They are facing 10 count charges, including dealing in prohibited drugs for the purpose of trafficking, drug trafficking, importation of firearms without authority, having firm arms without authority, among others.