Gambia: NDEA Officer Says Mbye Njie Was Bribed

Saikou Ba Jammeh of Bakau, an NDEA officer attached to Kiang Keneba Station has told the Banjul Magistrates' Court presided over by Principal Magistrate Taiwo Ade Alagbe that Mbye Njie, the former NDEA Operation director was bribed by one Bakary Jammeh in the case of one Sarjo Jallow, who was in their custody.

Jammeh made this revelation while testifyingas the first prosecution witness in the corruption trial of the embattled former director of Operation at the NDEA, on Tuesday continued before the Banjul Magistrates' Court. Mbye Njie is defending corruption charges leveled against him by the state at the said court.

When the case came up, the director of Public Prosecution (DPP) S.H Barkun reminded the court that the case was set for hearing and he was with some of his witnesses in court. Lawyer Lamin K. Mboge who appeared for the first time in the case announced he representation for the accused and that the previous defence counsel L.S Camara had filed a motion for the bail of the accused person, which he wished to adopt.

The DPP informed the court that he did not see any other motion filed in the case apart from the one filed by the previous defence counsel, Lamin S Camara, who has withdrawn from the case and so any document filed by him goes with him as he withdraws. Lawyer Mboge replied that there is no law that states that when a counsel withdraws anything filed by him goes with him. He further urged the court to disregard the application of the DPP and allow him to go on with his application.

The court in its ruling revealed that the succeeding defence counsel, L.K Mboge cannot adopt the motion filed by previous counsel L.S Camara because the affidavit in support is not to the knowledge of the succeeding counsel; the court therefore ordered for the counsel to file a bail application.

At that juncture, the DPP called his first witness who identified himself as Saikou Ba Jammeh of Bakau, an NDEA officer attached to Kiang Keneba Station. The first prosecution witness (PW1) informed the court that he knew the accused, who was one time his boss as the director of Operation, and that he also knew Sheriff Sanyang, the officer commanding at NDEA Banjul Division, who is presently in Liberia on a peacekeeping mission. He further told the court that he knew Sarjo Jallow who was under detention for being in possession of drug and he as well knew one Bakary Jammeh who is a mediator between Sarjo Jallow and his family.

PW1 narrated that between April and July 2011, while he was in his office one Musta Bah came to him and said he wanted to bail Sarjo Jallow and he (PW1) told him that he could nothandle bail issue but he referred him to the accused or OC Sanyang. He said the following day, one Bakary Jammeh came to him and said he was directed by Musta Bah to bail Sarjo Jallow and he repeated the same thing to him (Bakary) after which he left and went upstairs to the OC, Sheriff Sanyang who called him (PW1) and asked whether they had any suspect by the name Sarjo Jallow. He said he responded in the affirmative and Sanyang further said he will get back to him.

PW1 disclosed that OC Sanyang later told him that the accused instructed for the said Sarjo Jallow to be granted bail with a national ID card, to which he complied and did the same. He revealed that after Sarjo's sister left, few minutes later Bakary came back to his office alone and told him that the time he went upstairs to discuss about the bail, he was charged D6, 000 but he was with only D4, 000 which was given to him (PW1).

He further told the court that after sometime, the accused person called him to ask about Bakary Jammeh and whether he (Bakary) left anything with him (PW1) to which he answered in the affirmative and later delivered the said money to the accused in his office.

According to him, after a week, Bakary Jammeh came with one of Sarjo Jallow's relatives and said to him that they wanted to settle Sarjo's case but he (PW1) instructed him to go to court and do that and they left. He disclosed that Bakary Jammeh then said he was going to see the accused person and at that time, he (Bakary) was having a plastic bag that was containing D15, 000.

He explained after a while, he was called to the office of OC, Sheriff Sanyang and when he arrived at the said office, he found the accused with Bakary Jammeh and the said D15, 000 was given to the accused who also handed it over to OC Sheriff Sanyang for safekeeping, and the accused warned that they (Sarjo Jallow's family) have to pay the remaining D35, 000 in three months if not he will take the case to court. He finally said that Sarjo Jallow's case was not a plea bargain but instead it was a bribe to the accused.

During cross-examination of PW1 by the defence counsel for the accused person, Lawyer L.K Mboge, the witness told the court that he is a native of Essau village in the North Bank Region and a resident of Bakau. He added that his wife is from Kanilai, that it is the same village the CEO of the NDEA comes from. He said he could not answer any further questions about the relationship between the NDEA CEO and his wife.

He informed the court that he served for seven years in the NDEA and he went up to the rank of sub-inspector but now he is a corporal. He further informed the court that he knew Inspect Pa Serign Mboob but that he did notknow if he was dismissed from the NDEA but he missed to see him. He said he does not know why he was transferred from Banjul to Kiang, adding that he knows the first order at the NDEA, which he said is about transfer and posting and it is published at the NDEA office on its notice board.

The case was adjourned to 16th August 2012 for continuation.

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