23 November 2012

Gambia: Prosecution Witness Testifies in Trial of Foday Barry and Pa Mbye

Ousman Drammeh, a resident of Dippa Kunda, yesterday, 22 November 2012, testified as the fourth prosecution witness (PW4) in the ongoing alleged theft case involving Foday Barry, former Director of Intelligence and Investigations at the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDEA) and Pa Habib Mbye, former Crime Management Coordinator of the same agency.

According to Mr. Drammeh, sometimes in 2011 he went to the hotel room of Robert Yaw Danquah, who was one time an inmate at Mile II Central Prison, in order for him Danquah to give him the money of a laptop he sold to him at twelve thousand dalasi (D12,000). He said the money he took to Danquah was put in a black nylon bag.

He further told the court that after a while they heard a knock on the door of the room where Danquah's stayed. He said Danquah later opened the door and saw some men whom he said identified themselves as NDEA officers and that they were there to arrest him and of which he said "no problem". He said the officers told the hotel manager that they would like to conduct a search in Danquah's room in the presence of both the witness and Danquah.

He said during the cause of searching, the officers discovered two bags, adding that in one of bags there was cash in 50 dalasi denomination and in the other 100s denomination. He said they were later taken to the NDEA Holgam office with the money and that upon their arrival they were escorted directly to Foday Barry's (first accused) office where they placed the two bags containing the cash and the D12,000. He added that they were later asked to write statements.

Mr. Drammeh told the court that he was detained at Holgam for a month before he was released on bail. He said he was later granted bail and after which he went back to report and made a request for his money, but Mr. Barry said to him which money and he responded to him that the one which was contained in a black bag. He said at that juncture Barry started to search his cupboard and later found the said black bag but he insisted that the bag belongs to Danquah and not him. He said he told Barry not to open the bag so that he will name all the things that are contained in the said bag.

According to the witness, the items he named were all found in the bag except the twelve thousand dalasi. Barry, he said, told him that there was no money found in that bag and that all what was were only papers that belong to Danquah and not him (witness).

At this point, he said Danquah was called to confirm whether he gave the said sum of money to the witness which he said Danquah confirmed in the affirmative but Foday Barry told him that he has to wait until after the investigation.

PW4 said Danquah advised him to forget about the money but he insisted that he won't forget his money and that there was an argument between him and Danquah.

According to PW4, Mr. Barry told him that he is rude and later detained him for five days and released. He said he went back to Holgam again to get his money but nothing happened.

Drammeh told the Court that he has still not received money.

PW4 further informed the court that he was later asked by Danquah to ask the first accused if he (Drammeh) can bail him, but Barry said unless he talked to Danquah to produce the sum of €200,000 but which Danquah said he cannot get. He said he went back to Barry and informed him about what Danquah said; that he was detained again when he reported the following day after Danquah had escaped because Barry told him that he knew something about Danquah's escape. The witness said his bag and money are still with them.

When asked by the prosecutor whether he gave a statement, the witness responded that he gave a statement to the NIA.

Under cross examination by Uzuma Achibue, counsel for both accused persons, the witness informed the court that he gave two statements i.e. NIA headquarters and Holgam Unit of the NDEA.

At this juncture, counsel applied for both statements to be provided to him for the purpose of cross examination. He said at the time of their arrest, the accused persons were not present, adding that his money was in the hands of Gassama at the time they were taken to Holgam.

Hearing continues on Tuesday 27th of this month, 2012.

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