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Trial begins of Ex-NDEA director of operations

Aug 16, 2012, 9:41 AM | Article By: Bakary Samateh

The trial commenced recently in the case involving Mbye Njie, former director of operations at the National Drug Enforcement Agency (NDEA) at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court, before Principal Magistrate Taiwo Ade Alagbe.

Njie is being tried on a four-count charge including official corruption, and abuse of office.

Saikouba Jammeh testified as the first prosecution witness, and told the court that he is the station officer attached to Keneba Police Station in the Kiang West district of the Lower River Region.

He said he recognised the accused person as his former boss, and one time director of operations at the NDEA.

“I also knew one Sheriff Sanyang, as my officer commanding NDEA Banjul Station, currently on peacekeeping mission in Liberia,” he said.

“I knew one Sarjor Jallow who was in our custody for being in possession of prohibited drugs,” the witness added.

The station officer told the court that one Alhagie Bakary Jammeh was the mediator between the accused person, and the family member of Sarjo Jallow to facilitate his release from custody.

Sometime in April and July 2010, he was at the office when one Mr. Bah came to know the whereabouts of Sarjo Jallow who was in their custody, he added, and that he told him Sarjo Jallow was caught with prohibited drugs.

Mr Bah then said he wanted to bail him, and was asked to see his bosses, Sheriff Sanyang, the officer commanding, and Mbye Njie, director of operations.

The witness said they left his office and went to meet with his two bosses about the bail.

Officer Jammeh said that a few minutes later, he received a call from Sheriff Sanyang, to find out whether he had any Sarjo Jallow in their custody, and he replied in the affirmative.

Sanyang later called again, and informed him that Mbye Njie had instructed him to release Sarjo Jallow on bail, he said.

He added that Sarjo Jallow was released from custody based on the instructions given to him by his commanding officer.

Then a few minutes later, Alhagie Bakary Jammeh came to his office alone and informed him that his bosses had charged him D6, 000 to bail Sarjo Jallow, but he told them he could only offer D4, 000.

Officer Jammeh further adduced that he later received a telephone call on his land line from the accused person, asking whether Alhagie Bakary Jammeh had given him the D4, 000.

The witness further told the court that, a week later, Alhagie Bakary Jammeh came to his office with his family stating that they wanted to finish with the case, through an “out of court settlement.”

“I told him I cannot finish the case, unless you go to the director of operations, and he went to see Mbye Njie at his office upstairs,” officer Jammeh stated.

“I later received a call from my officer commanding, Sheriff Sanyang, asking me to go to his office. I found Alhagie Bakary Jammeh and his family members there discussing, and later left them there in the office,” he said.

He added that when Alhagie Bakary Jammeh was coming to his office, he was having a nylon bag containing D15,000 and gave it to the director of operations, who handed over the nylon bag to Sheriff Sanyang to keep it because he charged them D50,000 and if they failed to settle the outstanding D35,000 he would take Sarjo Jallow to court.

When asked by the Director of Public Prosecutions, S.H Barkum, whether it was a plea bargain, SO Jammeh added that it was not a plea bargain.

He said a plea bargain matter would go to the court, and from there the court would decide which amount was to be paid, but that D15, 000 was a bribe instead of a plea bargain.

The case was then adjourned till 16 August 2012, for cross-examination.

The particulars of the offence on count one stated that Mbye Njie, between April and July 2011 at Banjul, being employed as a narcotics control officer of the NDEA did corruptly solicit or received D15, 000 from one Bakary Jammeh, on account of settling a case against Sarjo Jallow out of court.

Count two stated that the accused between April and July 2011, did corruptly solicit or received D5, 000 from one Bakary Jammeh, on account of releasing Sarjo Jallow on bail in the discharge of his duties as a narcotics control officer.

Furthermore, count three stated that he did take or accept the sum of D15, 000 from Bakary Jammeh as a reward for settling a case against Sarjo Jallow out of court.

Count four read that Mbye Njie, for the purpose of self gain, did arbitrarily refrain from prosecuting Sarjo Jallow in abuse of his authority.