Prison commissioner says she knows nothing about Prison break
Thursday, August 02, 2012
The commissioner of Prison at Old Jeshwang, Anna Taro, on
Wednesday testified before Principal Magistrate Sheriff Tabally of the Kanifing
Magistrates’ Court that she knows nothing about the matter of a prison break,
saying she was never informed.
Commissioner Taro’s testimony came during her cross-examination by the defence counsel for the 1st, 3rd and 6th accused persons, Moses Richards, who wanted to raise Sections of the Constitution for the witness to be remanded if she refused to tell the court the truth on what she knows about the incident.
The prison commissioner frequently responded that she did
not know the questions posed to her by defence counsel, Moses Richards, and
this prompted Richards to remind the court of the provision of the
Constitution, which gives the court the power to remand a witness if they
refuse to tell the truth.
“The liberty of the accused persons are at stake; they have
criminal charges hanging on their necks, so if you do not answer my questions,
I will apply for the court to send you to Mile 2 or to your own Jeshwang
prison,” defence counsel Richards stressed.
Responding to the questions, the witness told the court that
a total of D5, 000 was stolen from her office, of which D4, 500 was removed
from the save which was fitted on the wall, and D500 from her own coffers. She
further told the court that apart from the cash and the ammunitions, her own
personal electrical fitting worth D10, 000, kept in her deputy’s [PW1] office,
was also missing.
The defence counsel put it to her that the only reason why her deputy was accused was because his finger prints were found in his office, to which Commissioner Taro replied that she did not know anything about, and objected to the defence counsel’s allegations that she landed her own deputy in trouble. She said they were all called for questioning at the police station, and asserted that the deputy doesn’t work on night shift.
The witness told the court that she did not know whether Foday Ceesay, the 6th accused was posted at the Prison’s Main Yard on the April 28th and did not know whether her office key was booked to the registrar at the gate lodge on 28th April. She further denied having poor electricity supply at the prison, saying they have a standby generator.
When defence counsel Richards further put it to her that the only person who opens her office could be her key keeper, the commissioner replied that she did not know.“I am further putting it to you that you don’t know anything in this case,” said Defence Counsel Richards, and the witness replied that she did not know anything about the case because she was not informed.
After Moses Richards’ cross-examination, the 2nd, 4th, 5th,
7th, 8th, 9th and 10th accused persons also cross-examined the witness as to
where they were posted before the incident, to which the commissioner replied
that she did not know. The accused persons also put it to her that they always
appealed to her for more personnel to be deployed on duties but the
They also put it to her that the lighting system of the prison was poor and that 3 officers were on the ground to guard 131 prisoners on the 28th April 2012, which the commissioner denied.
The case was adjourned to 13th August 2012 for continuation of cross-examination.
Author: Meita Touray