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Startling revelations in Ex-IGP Ensa Badjie & co trial

May 17, 2010, 11:32 AM | Article By: Sainey M.K. Marenah

Sillaba Samateh, a businessman, who was the first Prosecution Witness (PW1) in the trial of Ensa Badjie, Lt. Colonel Mam Matarr Secka and Major Kuluteh Manneh, has made startling revelations at the High Court in Banjul, presided by Justice Emmanuel Amandi.

The former Inspector-General of Police, Ensa Badjie, Lt. Colonel Mam Matarr Secka and Major Kuluteh Manneh were indicted by state prosecutors on a 51-count charge, ranging from sedition, economic crime, abuse of office, officials corruption, to obtaining money by false pretence, among others.

Testifying in court last Friday, Sillaba Samateh, who was designated as PW1, told the court that in 2009, he came to know the 1st accused, Ensa Badjie, through one Kawsu Gassama, who was working at the Banjul International Airport.

"After two weeks, I received a call from a woman, called Arret, who told me that she wanted a compound," Sillaba Samateh told the court.

According to the witness, the said Arret told him that her money was with the 1st accused, Ensa Badjie, and that he should collect the sum of D1.5 million from the 1st accused, (Ensa Badjie).

"I went to the home of the 1st accused (Ensa Badjie), but the 1st accused told me to go to his office the next day.

"The next day, I went to the office of the 1st accused (Ensa Badjie), to ask for the money. It was then the 1st accused (Ensa Badjie), gave me a slap with abusive language," the witness revealed.

"He showed to me that he is the head of the police force of The Gambia. He also showed to me that whatever he likes goes on in this country," the witness adduced.

Further testifying, the first prosecution witness told the court that, the 1st accused told him that they (the witness) who came from abroad and found them here, always create problems for them.

"I was taken to the police station, where I was detained," he added.

He testified that after two weeks, when he was released from detention, the 1st accused (Ensa Badjie) came to his compound and collected his telephone number, and then apologised for what had happened.

He said the 1st accused person asked what he was doing, and he told him that he was building a house. Then, he said, the 1st accused asked him to take him to the place, where he (witness) works.

PW1 also told the court that Ensa Badjie brought things for him to see, like precious stones such as crystals and diamond, and "flower tied which seemed to be a drug like cocaine."

"He told me that he (Ensa Badjie) wanted to do business on those items. He also told me that if anybody wanted to know the sources of these items, tell them that it was from the President."

The first prosecution witness told the court that Ensa Badjie assured him (Sillaba) that he (Ensa Badjie) is ready to protect him from whomever, be they police, military or any intelligence officer.

Further testifyng, PW1 said two days later, the 1st accused person called him and told him to meet him at a place in Brusubi, and that it was around 100 metres away from Brusubi where they met.

Sillaba testified that Ensa Badjie took his phone and called somebody by the name Edrissou, and then told him that the items "I gave you were samples for the people who needed those kinds of items."

Ensa Badjie, the witness added, said the items were to be shown to those who wanted to buy or people brought by Edrissou, so as to get money from them, but not to give them those items.

PW1 also told the court that the 1st accused had arranged a meeting between him and Edrissou at his work place, where one Seckabai was also present.

Meanwhile, the motion jointly filed by defence counsel, challenging some of the counts, has been dismissed by the trial judge Justice E. Amadi, following a court ruling to that effect.

The defence counsel, LK Mboge, representing the 3rd accused person, Major Kuluteh Manneh, has also filed a motion for bail, dated 14th May 2010, on behalf of his client pending the determination of the case.

Defence counsel LK Mboge wanted to move his motion for bail, but he was told by the judge that there was limited time for that. As he put it, he was "to preside over another case.

Hearing continues on 19th May 2010.