10 August 2012

Gambia: Ensa Badjie Gave Me Money for His Brother - Defence Witness Tells Court

Defence witness two (DW2) yesterday informed the Special Criminal Court, presided over by Justice Emmanuel Nkea, about the sealed envelope containing money given to him while on a peacekeeping mission in Darfur by Ensa Badjie, ex-police chief meant be to be handed over to his brother Ousman Badjie, sometime in the year 2005.

Baboucarr Ndow, Seaman at the Gambia Navy, made this disclosure while testing as DW2 in the ongoing multiple criminal count charges of drug trafficking, abuse of office, among others filed in by the state against the ex-police chief and two other top military officers; Kuluteh Manneh and Mam Matarr Secka at the High Court in Banjul.

When the army officer (DW2) mounted the witness box, he informed the court among others that, he is an officer of GAF working at the Navy as a seaman, and can recall the year 2005, while on a peacekeeping mission in the troubled region of Darfur through African Union peacekeeping mission together with Ensa Badjie, who was also there as a senior police officer, when he (Ndow) was on the verge of returning to The Gambia, Ensa Badjie gave him an envelope containing some amount of dollars for his brother Ousman Badjie.

Defence counsel Borry Touray asked the witness as to what happened while he was in Darfur with the accused person, he said Ensa Badjie gave him the said money meant to be handed over to his brother Ousman Badjie, an officer in the GAF, but he could not tell the exact amount of money contained in the envelop as it was sealed. "My lord it was in July 2005, when I was coming back to the Gambia from Darfur, he gave the said money to me," he concluded and paved the way for the DPP SH Bakurn to cross-examine him.

Responding to the cross-examination from the DPP, the Navy officer acknowledged that the envelop given to him by Ensa Badjie was a sealed one, as such he did not know the exact amount of money contained in it. He also accepted he was not present when the said envelop was sealed and he did not tamper with the envelop, he only did as he was instructed.

However, prior to receiving evidence from the Navy officer, the defence counsel expressed disappointment over absence of the summoned witnesses, DGs of NIA and Prisons Department respectively. "My lord it's unfortunate that the summoned witnesses are not in court, but we have one witness, an officer of the GAF," the defence counsel stated.

The judge then asked the defence in the circumstances what the court ought to do, the defence later applied for an adjournment for appearance of the said witnesses and it was adjourned to October 9th 2012 for continuation. "Gentlemen we have to adjourn this matter to October, as I am going on a leave," Justice Nkea said, referring to the ex-police chief and co-accused persons standing in the dock. They responded in the affirmative.

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