David Colley denies barrels of allegation

Jun 26, 2020, 12:20 PM | Article By: Pa Modou Cham

The former Prisons Director David Colley yesterday testified before the TRRC, denying every allegation leveled against him, ranging from prisoners’ torture, serving poor diet,  taking bribes, stealing prisoners' foods, authorising soldiers to take detainees from the prison, tribalism and many more at the state central prison (Mile 2).

Dwelling on the poor diet at the prison during his time as a director general, Colley denied that the foods had poor diet, saying the quantity of food brought to the prison was insufficient.

"We don't have qualified cooks at the prison and I never tasted the food, he said. “The food looks attractive but I don't know whether it tastes good or not. I will not argue with those who said the food is horrible. I only ate the food when I was a prisoner and it was good for consumption."

Lead Counsel Essa Faal put it to him that many died because the foods that were served lacked nutrition. However, the witness said he was not a doctor and he had never received any information from the doctor saying a prisoner had died as a result of the poor food.

He told the commission that the sickness called beriberi didn't come from the food but from bug infestation in the cells. 

At this junction, Counsel Essa Faal told him that his testimony was false and he intended to mislead the commission as beriberi was caused due to lack of nutrition.

Mr. Colley continued that when he was detained at the prison, his rights were violated as he was not allowed to take bath, have access to his family and lawyer and stayed long in his cell. He later admitted violations against prisoners during his time as director for 14 years.

On the issue of soldiers bringing undocumented detainees to the prison, the witness said: "the soldiers only came at night to bring or take detainees from the prison. They used to be armed when coming to the prison and my men wouldn't resist. I was not a party to the unlawful detention."

At this moment, the lead Counsel Faal requested the testimony of his (David'd) former Operations Director Sowe, who earlier testified that David and he used to take out detainees whenever the soldiers came for them. However, David insisted that Sowe's testimony against him was false.

After Ansumana Manneh's testimony on David’s tribalism was also replayed, he Colley refuted the allegation, describing it as false.

David Colley also denied stealing prisoners’ food, saying: "I have never in my life stolen prisoners’ food. I also never steal the proceeds from the prison farm. It was all allegations against me because I never steal prison stuff."