Dec 22, 2014, 10:23 AM
Buba Sagnia was arraigned before Principal Magistrate Hilary Abeke of the Banjul Magistrates’ Court and charged with abuse of office and neglect of official duty.
The first state witness, Lamin Bajo, a detective officer attached to the Major Crime Unit at the police headquarters in Banjul, said he knew the accused person as the former Director General of the Gambia Immigration Department.
“In November 2013, a panel was constituted including the NIA and the police in order to look into the issue of an entry clearance issued to Ali Chahin, a Syrian national, and Hussein Abs, a Lebanese national, without following the appropriate immigration procedures,” he said.
He further told the court that during the course of the investigation at the main office of the NIA in Banjul, the accused person was made available to the panel for interrogation.
“I was instructed by my boss officer commanding Jammeh to obtain cautionary and voluntary statements from the accused person, Buba Sagnia, which I did.I asked him whether he could write his own statement and he answered in the affirmative,” officer Bajo stated.
He added that the accused person wrote his own statement in the presence of an independent witness, who endorsed it; he too signed and the accused person also signed the statement.
He said he first obtained a cautionary statement and later obtained a voluntary statement and if he saw the said statements, he would be able to recognize them through his signature.
At that juncture, the state prosecutor, Mansour Jobe, applied to tender them in evidence and it was admitted as exhibits without any objection.
Under cross-examination by defence counsel LS Camara, who asked him whether the accused person wrote everything in exhibit A - the cautionary statement, the witness replied, “Yes,” he wrote everything in exhibit “A”.
Further asked by the counsel who was the suspect at the time of obtaining exhibit “B”, officer Bajo told the court that Buba Sagnia was the suspect at the time.
Asked again whose signature was on exhibit “B” the voluntary statement, the witness told the court it had his signature but arose from the state of confusion.
The case was at that juncture adjourned till 10 February 2014.
Ex-Director General Buba Sagnia, alias “Zil”, was alleged in count one to have on 28 October 2013, at the immigration headquarters in Banjul, within the jurisdiction of the court, whilst being employed as the Director General of the Gambia Immigration Department, acted in excess of the powers of his office and issued entry clearance to Ali Chahin, a Syrian national, and Hussein Abs, a Lebanese national, without forwarding the same to the National Intelligence Agency office for security screening, and thereby committed an offence.
Sagnia was further alleged in count two that in October 2013, at the immigration headquarters in Banjul, within the jurisdiction of the court, whilst employed as the Director General of the Immigration Department, he issued entry clearance to Ali Chahin, a Syrian national, and Hussein Abs, a Lebanese national, without forwarding the same to the National Intelligence Agency office for further security screening, and thereby committed an offence.