Police Commissioner testifies in 14 prisons officers’ case
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Alieu C. Njie, a police commissioner attached to the Scientific Support Unit of the Gambia Police Force at the Police Headquarters in Banjul, Monday testified as the second prosecution witness (PW2) in the ongoing criminal trial involving 14 prisons officers who are facing charges of office breaking, stealing and neglect of official duties, all contrary to the Laws of The Gambia. The witness gave his evidence before Principal Magistrate Sheriff Tabally of the Kanifing Magistrates’ Court.
evidence-in-chief, Commissioner Njie told the court that he is a resident of
Bundung and can only recognise the 1st accused (Modou Barrow), whom he said is
a staff of the Gambia Prisons Services. PW2 told the court that he could recall
the 30th April 2012. On the said date, he said he received a phone call from
one Saifo Sanyang of the Criminal Investigation Unit in Kanifing who informed
him that they have a case of prison breaking and stealing at the Jeshwang
the information, he said he left his office with Ndure Sowe to the said prison
camp. According to him, upon arrival, they met Saifo Sanyang and his
investigating team, after which he was escorted to the office of the Prison
Commissioner, Anna Taro. He explained that he was further briefed on the
incident by the Prison Commissioner Taro. “After being briefed, I did a visual
examination of the scene and some photos were taken,” he said.
PW2 added that after his visual examination he was lucky to find fingerprints from the nova glasses of one of the windows. He said the fingerprints were later taken using a stick black powder which were later sent for verification and were enlarged by Inspector Bekai Bojang and the results were issued to that effect. He said that he further instructed that the fingerprints of all the suspects be sent to their office for verification which was done.
cross-examination, the witness responding to Moses Richards, defence counsel
for all the accused persons, told the court that he served the Gambia Police
Force for 37 years out of which he served 18 years at the Scientific Support
Unit. He said he knew the 1st accused (Modou Barrow) as a nice gentleman but
was further acting upon the information he received concerning the breaking and
stealing. PW2 further admitted the defence counsel’s statement that it would be
difficult trace a fingerprint on an object by visual eye. The witness however
made clarification that he saw the fingerprint with the aid of the light. PW2
affirmed that the fingerprints which were examined and verified merged with the
fingerprints of the 1st accused, which made him a suspect.
Njie also admitted not knowing that the commissioner was the first occupant of the 1st accused person’s office. He denied the defence counsel’s statement that he did not thoroughly investigate the matter. “Is it reasonable to conclude that a minor fingerprint from an office that one occupied can make one a suspect,” defence counsel Richards questioned and in response, the witness affirmed the question, saying that it is possible. The case was then adjourned to 24th September for hearing.
Author: Meita Touray