Ebrima Jammeh, operation commissioner at the Department of Prison at the Mile 2 Central Prison Thursday testified as second prosecution witness in the trial of two prison wardens who are facing a two-count charge for the escape of Abdoulie Ceesay, the former managing director of Teranga FM radio from a lawful custody.
Under trial before acting Principal Magistrate Kebba Baldeh at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court Ebrima B Njie and Edrissa Manga are alleged of negligently permitting Abdoulie Ceesay to escape from their lawful custody while on duty on 19th April 2016 at the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital (EFSTH) in Banjul.
They are also alleged to have wilfully neglected to perform their duty to wit, keep custody of Abdoulie Ceesay while on duty on 19th April 2016 at the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital (EFSTH) in Banjul.
In his testimony, the witness said when he reported to work on 20th April, 2016, he was briefed that remand prisoner Abdoulie Ceesay escaped from the hospital, where he was admitted for medical treatment.
He said he was instructed by his commander to go with the first prosecution witness Assistant Superintendent Abdoulie Bah Abdoulie Bah to the scene, saying they did not found anyone in the ward where Abdoulie Ceesay was admitted but he took some photographs of the place.
According to the witness, he later visited the next ward and found a lady who escorted her sick husband to the hospital. He said he asked the lady whether she saw anyone passing through their ward and the lady told him that in the middle of the night, she saw someone opening the door of the ward trying to enter in but she was scared.
He said the lady told him that she shouted when she saw someone trying to enter their ward but the person asked him not to shout before he jumped into the ward and ran through the entrance.
Jammeh maintained that the accused persons were the officers on duty on the night of the escape and the lady he spoke to believed that the person who jumped through the window of the ward where her husband was admitted was the patient next to that ward.
Under cross-examination, the witness said two of them (officers) were instructed to investigate the matter. He said he does not know the lady she spoke to and cannot remember her name.
He said the day he spoke to the lady was the last time he saw her, stating that he had the opportunity to have oral interview with the lady.
The witness asserted that he only went to the scene as instructed by his commander to verify whether it was true that Ceesay had escaped, and that he took pictures, made an audio recording and forwarded them to the National Intelligence Agency for further investigation.
Jammeh said there was no fence between the ward where Abdoulie Ceesay was admitted and the ward where the lady was but he doesn’t know the ward number of Abdoulie Ceesay.
The witness said he knew Chief Kalilou but his investigation didn’t reveal that Chief Kalilou visited the escaped prisoner.
He said every prison officer has experience in their duty and that he does not know the nurse attendant at the ward at the time of the alleged escape; neither the visiting hours of patients. He said if further investigation is mounted it might help them to find out how the prisoner escaped.
The case is adjourned for continuation of hearing.
by Lama S Jallow