“I will never be afraid of an authority. I will give you the respect but I wouldn’t allow anybody to play with me. My men are my men and if you hit them, I react and I don’t mind going home.”
He said during his time as IGP, many police officers were illegally dismissed but he reinstated them; believing that was the reason for his own dismissal as IGP.
Dwelling on the issues of West African migrants who were allegedly killed in The Gambia, Minister Sonko said he wasn’t in town but his perception was eight migrants were killed. He said he hadn’t heard of the high list of execution, instead heard the government’s denial for responsibility.
He testified that when the officers were explaining what happened to the migrants, he couldn’t bear that because it was shocking and he later requested the report from the Crime Management Coordinator (CMC) to know the matter. He confirmed that he gave the Barra Diary to the Amnesty or Martin Kyere’s investigators.
“I also requested the post investigation report of the West African migrants’ incident in Barra. The report revealed the ghastly acts by the junglers during Yahya Jammeh’s rulings. I believe that the activities of missing individuals will be recorded in the diary and that was the reason I requested for it. A part of the diary was given to me but the activities I thought it would have been in the diary, wasn’t there. I didn’t realise seeing names of Ghanaians written in the diary.”
He further testified that all the migrants brought to the station should have been recorded with their release and transfer to other stations. He said the entries should have given a coherent narrative and established how the migrant were detained by the Gambian government.
On the statement of witness Jawara Bah, who said Sonko took the diary from him before the arrival of the UN investigators and informed him that they were received from the airport, adding alcohol and beverages were given to them and they later returned to their country. However, Sonko denied the statement and said Mr. Bah lied against him.
He confirmed that there was a massive government cover-up and all the information they gave to the international bodies with regards to the case of West African migrants were lies.
With regard to the arrest of UDP militants in 2016, Minister Sonko said on the 16 of April demonstration, tear gasses were fired but he never ordered the operation. He added one died in custody and about five people were injured.
He continued that during the arrest of journalist Chief Manneh, he was in the UK and upon his return after four years, none of Manneh’s files could be traced.
“We received information from the American government that Manneh transited at the United States in April 2006 and never traced.”
At this juncture, Counsel Essa Faal read news article that featured Sonko and published in 2012. He said Sonko said that the latest information they received from Interpol is that Manneh was in the U.S. Counsel therefore put to the witness that his statement was reckless, false and a cover-up of the disappearance of Manneh in the country. However, Interior Minister Sonko said he can consider his statement as reckless but not false because that was the information they received.