Ex-police chief, Drammeh accused of altering diaries

Mar 25, 2021, 11:02 AM | Article By: Pa Modou Cham

A senior NIA agent, Aziz Hydara, yesterday, while testifying before the TRRC implicated current Minister of Interior, Yankuba Sonko and Ebrima Jim Drammeh, director of Operations Drug Law Enforcement Agency, saying they supervised the modification and falsifications of dairies containing entries of the alleged killed West African migrants.

Sonko was the Crime Management coordinator, the Gambia Police Force at the time, while Drammeh was the director of Operations of the National Intelligence Agency. 

Hydara, who appeared before TRRC in connection with his involvement in the taskforce, which assisted ECOWAS/ UN investigators, explained that as then head of the Investigations Unit of the NIA, he was contacted by Ebrima Drammeh alias Jim Drammeh to be part of the taskforce. According to him, they met at Sonko's Office where they were briefed that there would be UN/ECOWAS joint investigations.

"I was not part of the taskforce as explained, we were a supporting team to the UN/ ECOWAS investigators," he clarified. 

“In a meeting at former Interior minister's office, we were told that we would be facilitators to the investigators. I later understood that the whole essence was to make cover-up. I said this because I’m not aware of bringing any document.”

He claimed that the diaries were re-written and Yankuba Sonko, Malamin Ceesay, Numo Kujabi, and Nfally Jabang were present, adding that entries in those diaries were transferred to a new dairy. 

At this juncture, Faal told him that the minister of Interior, Yankuba Sonko testified before the Commission and said he was not aware that the dairies were doctored. Hydara however responded that Sonko lied. 

He alleged that Ebrima Jim Drammeh and Nfally Jabang were always eager to enforce the government decision; adding that members of the taskforce feared Nfally Jabang because he reports to former President Jammeh.

Mr. Hydara said Yankuba Sonko was in control of the taskforce and knew that the dairies were doctored; he participated in the process. 

On whether he was aware of the presence of the investigators, Hydara said he heard about their arrival in the country but not at the time when he was at Kairaba Police Station. 

“Prior to the arrival of the ECOWAS/ UN investigators, they removed all the entries of the movements of the West African migrants. That was to cover-up the facts. Ensa Badjie made them believe that this was loyalty to the country. Former Minister, Ousman Sonko told the investigators that Yahya Jammeh would compensate them.”

Testifying further, Hydara said he was again called by Jim Drammeh to meet him around the Jeshwang Cemetery, where he found ongoing exhumations. The witness said Jim Drammeh further informed him of his journey to Ghana.

Mr. Hydara recollected that the remains of four bodies were taken to Ghana with the delegation from The Gambia government led by Dr. Mariatou Jallow, the then Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary, Mawdo Touray, Malamin Ceesay, and himself.

He further testified that the then Ghana Foreign Minister Nana Akufo-Addo insisted he wouldn’t receive them because The Gambia government lied that they killed only two Ghanaians.

Hydara said he regretted participating in the cover-up and apologised to all victims; adding that he is not aware of US$500,000 compensation paid to the Ghana government.

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