15 December 2011

Gambia: State Closes Prosecution Case in Dr. Janneh & Co Treason Trial

Mikailu Abdullahi, director of Public Prosecutions yesterday closed the case of the prosecution in the treason and sedition trial involving the state against the former Information minister, Dr. Amadou Scattred Janneh; Modou Keita; Ebrima Jallow and Micheal Ucheh Thomas before the Special Criminal Court in Banjul, presided over by Justice Emmanuel Nkea.

The quartet is standing trial on four-count indictments of treason and sedition.

On count one, conspiracy to commit felony contrary to Section 35 (1) g of the criminal Code Cap 10 Volume III, Laws of The Gambia, 2009, the particulars of the offence stated that Dr. Amadou Scattred Janneh on or about 26th May 2011 in diverse places in the Republic of The Gambia and elsewhere, conspired with Ndey Tapha Sosseh, Mathew K. Jallow, Famara Demba and others at large to overthrow the government of The Gambia by unlawful means.

Count two: Treason contrary to Section 35 (1) a of the Criminal Code Cap 10 Volume 111, Laws of The Gambia, 2009. The particulars of the offence stated that Dr. Amadou S. Janneh and Ndey Tapha Sosseh, Mathew K. Jallow, Famara Demba at large on or about 26th May 2011 in diverse places of The Gambia and elsewhere prepared to overthrow the government of The Gambia by unlawful means.

Count three: seditious act contrary to Section 52 (1) (a) of the Criminal Code Cap 10 Volume 111, Laws of The Gambia, 2009.

The particulars of the offence stated that Dr. Amadou S. Janneh, Modou Keita, Ebrima Jallow, Micheal Ucheh Thomas and others at large on or about 26th May 2011 in diverse places in the Republic of The Gambia, conspired amongst themselves to print and distribute 100 t-shirts carrying seditious statements to wit: Coalition for Change The Gambia, End Dictatorship Now.

For count four, seditious act contrary to Section 52 (1) (c) of the Criminal Code, Cap 10, Volume III, Laws of The Gambia, 2009, the particulars stated that Dr. Amadou S. Janneh, Modou Keita, Ebrima Jallow, Micheal Ucheh Thomas and others at large on or about 26th May 2011 in diverse places in the Republic of The Gambia, intent to cause or bring into hatred, contempt or to excite disaffection against the person of the President or the government of The Gambia, printed and distributed 100 T-shirts carrying statements to wit: Coalition for Change The Gambia, End Dictatorship Now.

It could be recalled that the prosecution led by the DPP Mikailu Abdullahi called 14 witnesses and tendered exhibits to prove its case against the quartet before closing its case yesterday. The first prosecution witness, Jal Joof, an employee of Classic Lady Shop, owned by Fatou Kuyateh, the wife of Dr. Amadou S. Janneh had told the court how he was given a T-shirt by the 1st accused Dr. Amadou S. Janneh and other staff at the said shop.

PW2, Sulayman Gaye, a police officer in his evidence narrated how he picked up a plastic bag containing T-shirt whilst he was walking along Kairaba Avenue near the post office; that after opening the plastic bag he discovered that the T-shirt has a writing: 'Coalition for Change The Gambia, End Dictatorship Now' on the front side; 'Freedom' on the back side

PW5, Abdou Ceesay, a driver who used to work for the 1st accused, Dr. Amadou S. Janneh, narrated how the 1st accused gave him and other people T-shirts at the office of the 1st accused, Commit in Kotu. He recognized the T-shirts and they were admitted in evidence and marked as exhibits.

Momodou Bah, PW6, a police officer, gave evidence and tendered the film he recovered from the 4th accused, which was purportedly used in printing the T-shirts. He told the court that investigation had revealed that they intended to print 10, 000 T-shirts and distribute for the purpose of demonstration to change the government of The Gambia.

PW7, Ousman Thorpe, a police officer, told the court that he transcribed the audio press release of the Coalition for Change (CCG). He used the hard drive containing the audio press release and played the audio to the hearing of the court. The witness further said he opened the CCGTG email account details and discovered that the email details contained negative conversation among CCG members, aimed at removing the APRC government and the president.

Gibril Colley, PW8, a police officer testified as the officer who obtained Dr. Amadou S. Janneh statements, both cautionary and voluntary, in the presence of one Kutubo M. Sanneh, an independent witness on the 6th June 2011. PW9, Dawda Touray testified that he obtained the statements of the 3rd accused Ebrima Jallow on the 7th June 2011.

The tenth prosecution witness, Saidou Camara, a security officer with Uncle Sam Security Services testified how he was given a T-shirt by the 1st accused, Dr. Amadou S. Janneh whilst he was on his way from BB Hotel at Kotu near the Fire Service. The witness said he saw the 1st accused distributing T-shirts and he was given one by the 1st accused.

PW11, Samba Baldeh, a police officer, told the court he obtained statements from the 4th accused, Micheal Ucheh Thomas. For Corporal Ebrima Mboob, PW12, he translated a message purportedly written by Dr. Amadou S. Janneh to one Dodou Wade, a member of parliament and nephew of President Abdoulie Wade, from French to the English language.

PW13, ASP Bakebba Susso, the OC CIU and the chief investigator of the alleged offence gave graphic evidence relating to the police investigations into the matter. He said after recovering some T-shirts from the 1st accused at his house and office and also a hard drive, he instructed PW7, Ousman Thorpe, to log in to the CCG email account and to print out all the incoming and outgoing mails therein. ASP Bakebba Susso named some of the members of CCG as Ndey Tapha Sosseh, Mathew K. Jallow, Banka Manneh. He adduced that the Coalition for Change intended to overthrow the government of The Gambia through street protest.

The last prosecution witness, Lamin Drammeh, the technical manager at the Comium Gambia Ltd, testified that Comium number 6161981 was registered in the name of A.S. Janneh. Meanwhile after DPP Mikailu Abdullahi applied to close the case for prosecution yesterday, defence counsel L.S. Camara urged the court to oblige the (accused persons) defence time to open their case.

The presiding judge, Justice Emmanuel Nkea then adjourned the matter to Monday, 19th; Tuesday 20th and Wednesday, 21st December 2011 for continuation.

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