In Lang Tombong & Co treason trial DPP asks for time to sort out documents
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
The treason trial involving the state and former chief of Defence Staff (CDS) of the Gambia Armed Forces (GAF) Lang Tombong Tamba and seven others could not proceed yesterday, Monday April 12, 2010 before the presiding judge, Justice Emmaneul Amadi of the High Court in Banjul.
When the case was called, the prosecution led by the director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Richard Chenge sought the court's permission to give the prosecution adequate time to sort out certain documents it intends to tender as exhibits before the court. The accused persons, Lang Tombong Tamba, Omar Bun Mbye, Lamin BO Badjie, Kawsu Camara, Modou Gaye, Gibril Ngorr Secka, Abdoulie Joof and youssef Ezzeedine are charged with three counts of conspiracy to commit treason and treason contrary to Section 35 (1) (a) (d) and (g) of the Criminal Code Cap 10, Volume III, Laws of The Gambia 1990.
At yesterday's sitting, DPP Richard N. Chenge stated that the prosecution was ready to proceed but urged the court to stand down the matter till 2:00pm to enable the prosecution sort out some documents concerning the printouts of telephone calls of Africell, Gamcel and Qcell.
DPP Chenge advanced that the investigating police officer of the case was available to give evidence but the prosecution was still sorting the printout of the telephone calls of the various telecommunication companies. He explained that the prosecution intends to call some short witnesses and would be closing its case in the next couple of days. He then urged the court to stand down the matter till 2:00pm to enable the prosecution sort out the necessary documents it intends to tender.
Responding, Lawyer Pap Cheyassin Secka, the lead counsel for the defence team told the court that the defence was not objecting to the stand down of the hearing of the matter till 2:00pm. The presiding judge, Justice Emmaneul Amadi who queried why the prosecution had not sorted the documents it wished to tender over the weekend, adjourned the matter to 12:30pm and the accused persons were driven back to the Mile II Central Prisons and brought back to the court at about 12:15pm. At about 12:40pm, the court was reliably informed that the prosecution was still not ready with the sorting out of the purported documents it intends to tender before the court and the case was then adjourned to today, Tuesday 13th April 2010 at 10:00am for further hearing. It would be recalled that the prosecution led by the DPP, Richard Chenge, had called 10 prosecution witnesses so far to prove the alleged offence of conspiracy to commit treason and treason against all the eight accused persons.
The first prosecution witness (PW1) Ebrima Marreh, also known as Ebrima Bojang, Ebrima Sanyang and Ebrima Ceesay had testified before the court. During his testimony, Marreh told the court how he was sent on an espionage mission to Farafenni military barracks and how he attended the various meetings held at the residence of the first accused, Lang Tombong Tamba with some of the accused persons.
The second prosecution witness, Rui Jabbi Gassama (PW2), a businessman from Guinea Bissau told the court how he was contracted to train 300 mercenaries for the alleged coup plot and said he was paid the sum of euro 30,000 and an additional euro 5,000 as a show of confidentiality, solidarity and support of his training. The said witness also told the court how he met Gibril Ngorr Secka at the Samaritan Restaurant in Bissau and sold a kilogram of Cocaine to him at a staggering sum of euro 14,000.
The second witness had also told the court how he was contracted to get a boat and other vehicles purportedly for the transportation of mercenaries and ammunitions from Guinea Bissau. Gassama also told the court how he went to a marabout (a spirtualist) with both the sixth accused, Gibril Ngorr Secka and Kukoi Samba Sanyang and 21 cows were slaughtered for the purpose of achieving a successful coup d'etat.
The third prosecution witness (PW3) was Kabirou Saidy, a security official at the Gambia Embassy in Guinea Bissau, who told the court that the sixth accused, Gibril Ngorr Secka was his boss as he (sixth accused) was the deputy head of Mission at the said embassy. He informed the court that he had seen the sixth accused, Gibril Ngorr Secka and PW2, Rui Jabbi Gassama in Guinea Bissau, but he was always excluded from their meetings and that he had warned the sixth accused, Ngorr Secka prior to the incident, but their relationship went sour.
The fourth prosecution witness (PW4) was WO2 Baluta Kanyi of the Gambia National Army. During his testimony, he told the court how the first accused Lang Tombong Tamba was de-kitted on November 2009, barely a month after he was relieved of his duties as the CDS of GAF.
The fifth prosecution witness (PW5) was Detective Police Inspector Lamin Cham of the Major Crime Unit of the Gambia Police Force who during testimony, told the court that he led the team of security officers to the residence of the first accused, Lang Tombong Tamba in both Bijilo and Kololi. He said as part of the investigation of the alleged coup plot, the team recovered various military items from the residence of the first accused including various military ranks for senior army officers namely: Captain, Major, Lt Colonel, State Guard emblem, ceremonial buttons, military uniforms, camouflag and T-shirts among others, S.B cartridge ammunitions for single barrel guns. He also told the court how he obtained the statements of the second accused person, Omar Bun Mbye.
The sixth prosecution witness (PW6) was Inspector Sainey Ndure of the Serious Crime Unit of the Gambia Police Force. During his testimony, he informed the court that he was among a panel of investigators at the NIA headquarters in Banjul in connection to the alleged coup plot and that he obtained cautionary and voluntary statements from some of the accused persons, namely the first accused, Lang Tombong Tamba, the fifth accused, Ex-DIG Modou Gaye, the sixth accused Gibril Ngorr Secka and the eighth accused Yousseff Ezzedine.
The seventh prosecution witness (PW7) was an NIA officer who told the court that he also obtained cautionary and voluntary statements from the third accused, Lamin BO Badjie, cautionary statement from the fourth accused Kawsu Camara and the seventh accused Abdoulie Joof.
The eighth prosecution witness (PW8) was also an NIA officer who told the court that he travelled to Guinea Bissau with the investigating team and he took photographs of the boat, Samaritan Restaurant and the identification parade, when the PW2 identified the first accused, Lang Tombong Tamba, third accused, Lamin BO Badjie and the sixth accused, Gibril Ngorr Secka at the NIA headquarters in Banjul, sometime towards the end of 2009.
The ninth prosecution witness (PW9) was Lt. Col. Yorro M.A Jallow, the commander of the 2nd Infantry Battalion in Farafenni, who testified that he actually met with PW1, Ebrima Marreh who introduced himself to him as Ebrima Bojang from the Office of the President and was on a fact finding mission. The army commander explained to the court his encounter with the said PW1, Ebrima Marreh otherwise known as Ebrima Bojang.
The 10th prosecution witness (PW10) was the CDS of GAF, Lt. Gen. Masanneh Kinteh, who told the court about his encounter with the PW1, Ebrima Marreh who introduced himself to him as Ebrima Ceesay among other information. At yesterday's sitting, the prosecution led by the DPP Richard Chenge could have called the 11th prosecution witness. The DPP stated that though the witness was in court, there were certain documents the prosecution needed to sort out in relation to the phone calls printouts from Gamtel/Gamcel, Africell and Qcell. Meanwhile, hearing continues today at 10:00am.
Author: by Sidiq Asemota