Mr. Ceesay told the court that he lives at Tranquil and he is a senior lecturer at the UTG. He testified that he knew Koro Ceesay whom he said was his cousin, adding that Koro’s father was his uncle. “Koro was a big brother to me. He saw me as my mentor,” he revealed.
He further stated that every person who knew Koro knew him as a man of principles, noting that Koro was sincere and had an exemplary character.
He informed the court that he knew Yankuba when he was a minister, stating further that he only saw him three times in person. He said the first time he saw him was when he was a minister at the Local Government Department and that he came across him when Yankuba was coming from the Quadrangle. He said that Yankuba came out and greeted him in Mandinka and passed.
He narrated that the second time he saw Yankuba in person was when he was told that Yankuba owned a plot at Tranquil. He said that he saw him one day with a neighbour called Lamin Jawneh. “The third time I saw him was the day of Koro’s funeral. Koro passed away on Friday night 23rd June, 1995,” he testified.
He told the court that it was in the morning on Saturday 24th June, 1995, when he had arranged for his daughter to have her hair braided. He stated that he was then working at the Medical Research Council, and was not staying at the family compound. He added that when he arrived at the family compound with his daughter, he realised that the compound was a little bit quiet.
“I started going round the back door because the front door was locked. Half way, I met Koro’s sister, Ya Bajen. She just shouted: “We no longer have a brother.” I looked at her and said: “What do you mean?” She then told me that one inspector told her that Koro had died in an accident,” he told the court.
He said he knew that Koro’s dad, Master Ceesay, was at home, noting that it was Koro’s dad who told him that he was going to visit his (witness’) father. He informed the court that Koro’s mother was also at home.
“I went to the bedroom to look for her. I fainted when I entered the bedroom. When I opened my eyes, I found myself sitting near the wall. Koro’s mother was saying: “They have killed my son.” I wanted to know whether the information was true,” Mr. Ceesay narrated.
He revealed that he told Koro’s mother to let him check Koro’s house at Bambo, Serrekunda. He stated that when he entered the compound, he asked the first person he saw whether he saw Koro’s car in the morning. He said he answered in the positive, and he then returned to the family compound.
“At that early stage, the only information we got was from one Inspector Mbye that Koro’s official vehicle was burnt at Jamburr and the information was that he had an accident. I did not go to the scene of the accident but some family members did,” he testified further.
He told the court that he did not have any family at Jamburr and did not know where Jamburr was, adding that Koro never told him that he had family members or friends at Jamburr. He noted that he saw Koro in his official car twice.
“The family members attempted to see the car the following day after his death but they were told that the car was no longer at the site. I finally saw it on the day of the funeral because Mbemba Tambedou, the then Minister of Works & Communication, personally collected me to go where Koro’s car was moved. I did not personally go round to inspect the car but it was severely burnt,” he said.
He went on to say that he saw Koro the week before he died, adding that he never saw or heard about him since he last saw him before he passed away. He told the court that when Koro’s mother said: “They have killed my son,” he presumed that she was referring to the former government.
Under cross-examination by Counsel Sissoho, he was shown a document and asked whether the name on the document was his. He then answered in the positive.
“Did you participate in the coroner’s inquest of the deceased?” Counsel Sissoho asked him.
“No,” he replied. He further testified that he was present as a family representative, noting that he was not aware that a coroner’s inquest was set up. He revealed that an autopsy was done by Dr. Fred Oldfield. It was put to him that without an order from the coroner, an autopsy could not be performed. He said he did not know.
The matter was subsequently adjourned to the 28th May, 2020, for the statement of Alagie Kanyi at the TRRC to be made available before the court.