3 March 2018

Gambia: At the Court Martial - 'Whatsapp Group Was Created to Overthrow Government' PW11

28 February 2018 - The eleventh prosecution witness Sulayman Gaye, yesterday told the Court-Martial that the 'Whatsapp' group was created after the political impasse, to overthrow the current Government of the Gambia; that Sergeant Yusupha Jammeh was assigned to recruit or add soldiers into the group, under the instructions of Lieutenant Yaya Jammeh, the second accused person. In his statement before the Court-Martial, the witness said the soldiers that were supposed to be added in the group, will range from the ranks private military officers to staff sergeants.

When the case was called, A. Adeyimi, Lieutenant Yusupha Jallow and A. Njie appeared for the State whilst Sheriff Kumba Jobe, Captain Suwaibou Jammeh, Captain Baboucar Bah and others, appeared for the 12 accused persons.

In his testimony, the witness told the general Court-Martial that he is police officer attached to the Criminal Investigation Unit and the Interpol Bureau at the Gambia Armed Forces Headquarters in Banjul; that he recognised all the accused persons adding that they were brought for investigation at the National Intelligence Agency. The witness narrated that some of the group members used to meet at the Buffer Zone and in Lamin Village and also at the AU Villa in Brufut Village, to discuss the planned coup d'état.

Under cross examination, the witness said he could only remember the name of one Sergeant Babucarr Sanneh alias Nyakare; that it was the only name that was revealed by the Board of Inquiry at the NIA. The witness told the Court-Martial that after the accused persons were arrested and brought for investigation, a Board of Inquiry was constituted in which he was a member; that it was the Board of Inquiry that prepared the report of the investigation that was given to the Criminal Investigation Unit of the Gambia Police Force.

On how the report was written, the witness said it was in a drafted format and he was assigned to type it, which according to him was done by himself.

The witness told the Court-Martial that the Board of Inquiry wrote to Africell, Qcell and Comium to extract the information contained in the 'Whatsapp' group; that all the three GSM Companies complied by downloading the information and extracted the text messages but the audios weren't audible. He said all the three GSM Companies downloaded the text messages and attached their logos on it. He was shown three documents before the Court-Martial and the witness said they were the documents that the GSM Companies prepared because it bore their logo and approval. The Defence Counsel objected saying the documents are computer generated documents; that it does not fit the provision of Section 22 of the Evidence Act. The Court-Martial overruled the objection adding that the witness was a member of the investigation team. The documents prepared by Comium, Africell and Qcell were all admitted and marked as exhibits N,O and P respectively. The report of the investigators at the Board of Inquiry dated the 29th July 2017, was admitted and marked as exhibit Q.

When asked by the prosecutor whether he can identify the phones that the accused persons used in their communication with each other, the witness responded in the positive adding that he can identify the phones by their labels and that each phone bears the name of the owner at the back (cover). He mentioned some of the names of the accused persons whose phones were recovered by the investigators.

The case is adjourned to today at 10 am for further hearing.

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