Thursday, December 29, 2011

Police Netted Civilian Over Alpha Omar's Murder

Police PRO Yerro Mballow
The Gambia Police Force have in their custody a man linked to the murder of Alpha Omar Jobe in Manjai-Kunda.
Jobe, a 22-year-old Gambian born of Guinean parents died on Friday Dec. 16 following a severe torture unleashed on him allegedly by the National Drug Enforcement Agency (NDEA), personnel at Manjai Police station.
But the police spokesperson Yerro Mballow, said the suspect in their custody is a civilian.
However reports have it that Lamin Jarju, NDEA officer whose name featured prominently in the saga has absconded to Cassamance, southern province of Senegal.
Mr Mballow, meanwhile, said “I’m not aware of that. We only have one suspect in our custody and pursuing the rest.”
The suspect whose name is yet to be disclosed is now helping the police in their investigation, according to Mr Mballow.
“I cannot reveal his name because it might jeopardise our investigation as we are chasing others,” Mballow added.
He said the police are relying on the public to come forward and give information.
“If anybody knows where the rest of the suspects are, let them come forward and inform the police,” he advised.

Friday, December 23, 2011

From Prison, Isatou Enters Battleground

When sudden visits by seeming serious-looking male elders to a household headman become frequent, in The Gambian context, there is no need much guessing, especially when the host household harbours ‘a ripe girl.’
At the age of 19, young Isatou Dukureh, who had finally returned home after years of studies at a ‘Madrassa’ in neighbouring Senegal was anticipating such visits.
A year later when her father started holding closed door discussions with unknown, but elderly faces that have all of a sudden become familiar to her, she suspected that she was at the centre of the discussions.
But she was at a loss to understand why they would talk about her, decide and arrange for her without asking her opinion, even out of courtesy.
“I was certain they were discussing about me, but no one bothered to put me in the picture. But I knew that would not last,” the 20-year-old woman told WOMEN’S BANTABAA.
“One day, when those elders that have been visiting my father came and left, my father called me into his room and informed me that ‘the nut have been tied.
Shaken, though not completely caught off guard, she wanted to ask many questions at the same time: to whom, why, when, how…?
But knowing full well that her father is not that type who often entertains her children’s opinion even on issues that concerns them, affects them, she allowed him to rest his case.
“I wanted to protest, but my father would not talk his children for more than 2 minutes. He would never ask his family’s consent on the decisions he take, not even his wives,” she alleged.
“So, my marriage was arranged with a man I had never set my eyes on. All that my father told me about him was that he met the man at an Islamic conference.
“He [father] told me it was a promise he made to the man and assured me that the man would make a good husband because he is a good Muslim.
Looking young and beautifully plump, 20-year-old Isatou’s experiences with the man her father thought would make a good husband are poles apart.
Forced marriage is still commonplace in The Gambia, though the rate is said to have declined thanks chiefly to intensive awareness creation as well as some positive legal and policy reforms.
Rights activists however, say though legal provisions that protect women from forced marriage exist, the fact that they are made subject to personal laws make it hard, if not impossible to enforce.
This weakness in the existing legal provisions is compounded by the culture of silence and low awareness.
Isatou, for instance, attended a Madrassa. She is not aware of anything like Women’s Act, 2010. But even if aware, would it make much difference? For she has already accepted it as her fate.
“I have six elder sisters,” she says, “and I helplessly watched each of them disappear into their marital homes in tears.
“Since then, I came to the conclusion that I would not be an exception. Here I am suffering a similar fate.”
Born into a household where, unlike her brothers, young Isatou Dukureh’s inalienable rights to movement, association, education, opinion and speech was unduly alienated.
Her father, she explains, rules his household with an iron fist and punishes her by beating for some minor mistakes. Even his wives are not spared, though male children are accorded some preferential treatment when it comes to association, education, etc.
Growing up, young Isatou could hardly feel her father’s love for her. She sees conditions at her household as no different from prison where ones rights, especially a girl child’s, are unduly curtailed.
“My father’s house was like a prison,” she says, “but my marital home is a battleground.
“My husband and I have been married for over a year now, but I still don’t love him. I don’t have any feelings for him.
“He knows I don’t and he treats me badly,” she managed to say between sobs as she could no longer hold back her tears.
After a charged pause, she goes on: “I never thought my father would marry me to a stranger.
“I’ve struggled to understand how any parent could do this to his or her child.
“My husband treats me cruelly. I wanted to divorce him right now, but my father would kill me.
“He would curse me when I tell him that I don’t love my husband. He would never forgive me for disobeying him.”
Worse than that, Isatou says, her husband has vowed never to divorce her ‘because my father gave me to him as ‘gift.’
She explains further: “When I traveled with my husband to his home village in in Guinea Conakry, I found out that he has another wife.
“He never told me about it. It was his parents who informed me while I was there.
“Infact, my husband wife told me if there are no men in my own country. She queries why my father should get me married to his husband.
“I wake up every morning hoping that my husband would tell me: pack up and leave … that he doesn’t want me any more,” she says. But that seems to be a far away aspiration for now. 

Charges against Touray Brothers of Pristine Dropped

The State has on Monday withdrawn criminal case against Mr. Hassan Touray, chief technology officer of Pristine Consulting, a Gambian-owned IT firm.
Assan and his brother, Abdurrahman Touray, the chief executive officer of the firm are charged with two counts of economic crimes, one count of conspiracy to defraud the public and one count of theft.
Details of the indictment revealed that the two men sold and withheld The Gambia government’s share of over D27, 000,000,000 when engaged by government to produce biometric national identity cards and other official documents.
Assan denied any wrong-doing, but his brother was indisposed. He was declared wanted by the state before the trial.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Judge ‘Uncomfortable’ with Case of His Former Student Who ‘Murdered’ Mum


Justice Nkea

Justice Emmanuel Nkea of Special Criminal Court in Banjul yesterday recused himself from the murder case involving Omar Jammeh, a boy alleged to have deliberately set his biological mother on fire.
The tragic incident occurred in 2010 at Bundung Borehole when late Fatou Badjie’s house was set on fire allegedly by Omar Jammeh, who is said to claim that his mother was a witch. The rescue was late as Fatou Badjie died shortly after the incident at the hospital.
And Omar Jammeh is standing trial for murder and arson alongside his father, Ebrima Jammeh, but both pleaded not guilty.
When the case resumed yesterday, Justice Nkea told defense lawyer Lamin Camara that the prime suspect was his student at the law faculty of the University of The Gambia.
“I will not feel comfortable to convict this man,” he said, noting that Omar always smiles at him.
Nkea said he will transfer the case to another judge. The case will resumed when case file is transferred.

Cloud Thickens over Retired Civil Servant’s Death

Army PRO Bojang
The spokesperson of The Gambia Armed Forces (GAF) dismissed allegations that one Mariama Ann, a retired cleaner at the department of NGO affairs was killed by a military personnel.
A resident of Sinchu Alagie village in the West Coast region of The Gambia, the retired civil servant met her death on August 26, after she was knocked down by a vehicle at the outskirts of Mile 2 Central Prison in Banjul where she went to visit her remanded son, Abdul Aziz, who is standing trial on economic crimes.
According to eyewitnesses, the man driving the vehicle that knocked the old woman was a military personnel.
 None of the eyewitnesses have however recorded the details of the vehicle as it was said to be speeding. Some suspect that he was from the newly established Hamza Barracks in Banjul.
“I’m not aware of it,” army spokesperson Omar Bojang however told The Daily News at his office in Banjul.

Two Civilians Connected to 2006 Attempted Coup Arraigned

Njie and Lowe sitting in the gallery

After spending five years in remand at Gambia’s central prison where news and rumours of death of in-mates are nowadays coming-out thick and fast, the two civilians allegedly connected to the alleged 2006 coup attempt in Gambia were arraigned at the Special Criminal Court on Tuesday.
Gambia’s fugitive ex-defence chief Ndure Cham, who is said to have masterminded the alleged 2006 military coup attempt is still at large, but about five top army officers allegedly connected to the aborted coup have been sentenced to life imprisonment.
However, about five others including former intelligence chief, Daba Marenah have allegedly ‘escaped’ under mysterious circumstances while they were being transferred to provincial Janjanbureh prison.
Former defence chief Lang Tombong Tamba, who was Ndure Cham’s deputy and navy chief Sarjo Fofataa were recently sentenced to life imprisonment for concealment of treason even though they had pleaded not guilty. They have however appealed against their conviction.
Facing trial now over this saga that allegedly occurred while president Jammeh was on a trip abroad, is Mr Ablie Njie and Alieu Lowe.
Both attired in light-blue kaftan, Mr Ablie Njie and Alieu Lowe, who were working at the Gambia’s defence headquarters, are charged with treason related offences.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

‘Ex-Information Minister Gave-out T-Shirts to Boys’

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Dr Amadou Scattred Janneh, ex- information minister of Gambia has given-out T-Shirts to boys, including myself said, Saidou Camara on Thursday.
Mr Camara who was testifying as the state 10 witness however told the court that he did not know the inscription on it because he is an ‘illiterate’.
Arrested in June 2011, Dr Janneh was put on trial for conspiracy, sedition and treason at the High Court in Banjul while Michel C. Ucheh Thomas, a Nigerian, and two Gambian youth, Modou Keita and Ebrima Jallow are only facing sedition charges.
He is accused of printing and distributing T-Shirts bearing the inscription: ‘Coalition for Change The Gambia, End Dictatorship Now’ with intend to overthrow the government. He pleaded not guilty.
“I was returning from the beach when I met the accused standing beside his vehicle parked at the Kotu fire service distributing T-Shirts to boys,” the witness alleged.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The role of women in the 2011 Presidential election

Hamat Bah, Ousainou Darboe and Yayha Jammeh
To vote is a fundamental civic duty of every Gambian woman who has voters’ cards.  No woman should not undermine the importance of her single vote, it might be the last say needed to make a difference Musoolula Bantabaa writes.

The role of Gambian women in the 24 November, 2011 presidential election is synonym to the need for them to take charge of their destiny. As Gambians prepared to go to polls tomorrow Musoolula Bantabaa sheds light on how women can break the chain of male dominance in participating in the administrative life of their country and reducing to mere political propaganda tools.
Gambians will tomorrow, Thursday 24 November assert their voice by casting their votes for a presidential candidate of their choice who would steer the wheel of the nation on their behalf for another five-year term.
Whoever become president among the three contesting candidates shall utilise the power derived from the authority of the people in their name and for their welfare.
Women who continue to play the triple role of producers, maintainers and reproducers have remarkable sets of roles when they judiciously participate in this year’s election, exercising their constitutional rights and duties.

Friday, November 18, 2011

CCG Has No Stated Objective to Overthrow Jammeh

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police criminal investigator yesterday revealed that a Gambian pressure group that planned to stage regime change protests against the Jammeh administration has eight objectives.
These, police officer Ousman Topp spelt out include: to repeal laws, give equal access to all political parties, introduce presidential term limit, and stop arbitrary arrests and detentions, among others.
“So is there anything in the stated objectives that shows CCG [Coalition for Change, The Gambia] wants to overthrow Gambia government” defense lawyer Lamin Camara quizzed the state witness, but he responded in the negative.
The police investigator was testifying against four treason suspects, including a former Gambian Information minister.
Dr Amadou Scattred Janneh is charged with three others for treason, conspiracy and sedition at Banjul Magistrates’ Court. The other accused persons are Michel C. Ucheh Thomas, Modou Keita and Ebrima Jallow.
They are accused of printing and distributing T-Shirts bearing ‘Coalition for Change The Gambia, End Dictatorship Now’ with intent to effect unlawful change of government in The Gambia.
Meanwhile, during Wednesday proceedings, Mr Topp affirmed that there was no violent demonstration in The Gambia to overthrow president Yahya Jammeh’s government.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

State Ordered to Look Into Former Minister’s Prison Condition

Justice Emmanuel Nkea of the Special Criminal Court on Monday ordered the chief prosecutor, Abdullahi Mikalive to look into the conditions under which former Information minister is being kept.
Former minister Dr Amadou Scattred Janneh had earlier complained about the ‘bad’ state of his cell where he is being remanded pending the outcome the treason charges against him and three others.
“Has your conditions been change,” justice Nkea inquired from Dr Janneh on Monday, but the former minister responded that nothing has been done about it. This prompted the judge to order the director of public prosecution to look into it.
Though the trial resumed Tuesday, the state however did not make any mention of its enquiry so far, if any at all, into Janneh’s prisons condition.
Dr Janneh is charged with treason, conspiracy and sedition alongside a Nigerian national Michel C. Ucheh Thomas and two Gambian youth Modou Keita and Ebrima Jallow.
The prosecution says the accused persons have printed-out and distributed T-Shirts bearing the inscription: ‘Coalition for Change The Gambia, End Dictatorship Now,’ which are meant to overthrow Gambia government through protests.
They however denied any wrongdoing. Treason attracts a minimum of life imprisonment and maximum penalty of death sentence in The Gambia.

‘Any Man Who Beats a Woman Has Given Up His Right to Be Call a Man’

Ambassador White
I couldn’t help ruminating about the plight of ‘womankind’ when the United States Ambassador to the Gambia, Pamela White emphasizes that men who have beaten up their wives for whatever reason does not deserve to be called men, for they has given up their right to be called men.
Women battering is invariably a manifestation of a deep rooted culture of intolerance and disregard for human dignity. Violence committed in the private sphere like the home should no longer be regarded as a private personal matter to be resolved at home, but as an act that requires the attention of the community and society.
Here in The Gambia violence is pervasive, and as a result many women continue to suffer in the home and in the community with devastating effects.
Physical violence means a woman has been slapped, or had something thrown at her; pushed shoved, or had hair pulled; hit with a fist or something else that could hurt; choked or burnt; threatened with or had a weapon used against her.
Ambassador white was quoted as saying, “Any man who beats a woman has given up his right to be call a man,” during a day capacity building for teachers on violence against women organized by the Female Lawyers of the Gambia (FLAG), at the paradise suites hotel.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

‘NIA Officers Tortured My Men’

fired NDEA Chief Bun Sanneh
Ebrima Bun Sanneh, former executive director of National Drug Enforcement Agency has told the Special Criminal Division of the High Court in Banjul that National Intelligence officers have tortured his men, anti drug officers for obstructing what was infact in their domain (drug).
“Lamin Kabou, who managed to escape was screaming when he rushed into my office naked, blood all over his body with wounds,” Bun Sanneh told the court yesterday as he defends against multiple charges levied against him.
He is standing trial alongside four former top anti-narcotic officials, Karamo Bojang, his deputy, Ousman Sanneh, operations commander, Seedy  Bojang and Marie Sanneh the only female are facing 30 counts of corruption and drug related charges at high court in Banjul. They all pleaded not guilty.
“They (NIA) were about to kill me” Bun heard Lamin said while on the floor..
He added: “I called Lamin Bo Badjie, then Director General of NIA and informed him, but he hang up the phone.
“After some minutes, Alhajie Morr Jobe and Ebrima Drammeh, all intelligence officers forcefully entered my office. My commander wanted to arrest them, but I intervened.”
Bun further told the court that Alhaji Morr Jobe told him that he was after his prisoner, Lamin Kabou who was still lying on the floor.

Embattled ex-NDEA Chief Bun Sanneh Put up Defence

Embattled ex-NDEA Chief Bun Sanneh
Although his ordeal is far from over, the appearance of embattled ex-anti drug chief, who has been widely rumoured dead, was a sigh of relief to the sea of nervous family members and sympathisers.
Appearing in a not-so-bad mental and physical shape, Ibrahim Bun Sanneh, attired in a modest Kaftan showed up at the High Court in Banjul in the escort of state security services from the country’s central prison, Mile Two, where he is being remanded, and where two people came out dead in two weeks.
The former executive director of the National Drug Enforcement Agency (NDEA) is facing multiple criminal charges alongside four of his juniors – Seedy Bojang, his deputy, Ousman Sanneh, operations commander and Mary Sanneh.
The charges against the five former top anti-narcotic agents, who were fired last year in the wake of the saga, include corruption, theft, illegal possession of firearms, drugs, among others. They all pleaded not guilty.
Several witnesses had testified for the state. On Monday, it was Ibrahim Bun Sanneh turn to clear himself of the allegations on which if found guilty, could land them in jail for several years.
According to the former anti-drug chief, at some point during his time as head of the anti drug agency, there was a conflict of interest with the National Intelligence Agency (NIA).
This, he revealed, started when Alhaji Morr Jobe was deployed from the NIA to NDEA as Operations Commander.

GPU Rescues Journalist Saikou Ceesay

Saikou Ceesay

Nanama Keita

The Gambia Press Union (GPU) on Wednesday rescued journalist Saikou Ceesay, who bailed Mr Nanama Keita, former sports editor of Daily Observer newspaper at a tune of D100, 000.00.
Editor Nanama Keita was charged with false information when he petitioned his former employer, Daily Observer company for wrongful termination of his services.
Though he denied any wrong-doing, Keita however jumped bail and fled to U.S to attend a UN fellowship in the middle of the trial, leaving journalist Ceesay at the mercy of the state.
Saikou Ceesay, who stood as his surety was on Monday spend a night in detention at the headquarters of Gambia Police Force in Banjul. He was released on bail on Tuesday.
When Namana’s case resumed at the magistrates’ court in Banjul on Wednesday, the prosecutor, ASP Sainey Joof informed the court that he had filed a motion for the forfeiture of the bail bond.

Ocean Bay Hotel Boss Freed on Drugs

Mr Juergen Odenwald
The magistrates’ court in Banjul yesterday dropped the drug charges against Mr Juergen Odenwald, general manager of Ocean Bay hotel in Bakau Cape Point.
The five star hotel boss was put under trial when bundles of cannabis were discovered in a hotel vehicle allocated to him in April this year by anti-narcotics agents.
Mr Odenwald was detained for two days before he was granted bail. He appeared at court on April 26 and charged with possession of illicit drugs, but he pleaded not guilty.
The hotel manager’s trial however suffered a number of setbacks in recent times following the alleged arrest of the anti-narcotics agent that led his arrest and scores of Ocean Bay staff. Word has been that they framed up the hotel manager in the saga, but this has not been officially confirmed.

‘End Dictatorship Refers to President Jammeh’

Dr. Janneh
Inpector Sulayman Gaye, a police investigator has said that ‘Coalition for Change-The Gambia: End Dictatorship Now’, as inscribed in T-shirts allegedly printed and distributed by former Information minister refers to no other person, but Gambian president Yahya Jammeh.
Mr Gaye made this remark yesterday while continuing his testimony as state witness no.2 in the treason trial involving Gambia’s former Information minister, Dr Amadou Scattred Janneh, Michel C. Ucheh Thomas, a Nigerian, and two Gambian youth, Modou Keita and Ebrima Jallow.
They are charged with treason, conspiracy and sedition at the High Court in Banjul for allegedly printing and distributing T-Shirts bearing the inscription: ‘Coalition for Change The Gambia, End to Dictatorship Now.’ They all pleaded not guilty.
“Where in T shirt is the president mentioned,” defense lawyer, Lamin Camara quizzed, but the police Inspector insisted that “Coalition for Change-The Gambia, End Dictatorship Now’ is referring to president Jammeh.
“What is The Gambia, a dictatorship or democratic state?” Camara pressed police officer Gaye.
“It a democratic state,” Gaye, who claimed that he was part of the investigation team that probed into the saga responded.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

‘Woi Na Baba Tata’ – Our Baba is Gone

Baba Jobe buried at his home village
Men beat their chests, stifle their tears, and shook their heads in agony. Women carried their hands on their heads, typically sobbed and wailed.
Young and old defied the burning sun. And tightly scheduled men and women in their smart Western  suites  apparently sacrificed works on their desk.
Banjul, The Gambia’s capital city was the scene of this charged atmosphere as relatives and sympathisers restlessly waited to receive lifeless former APRC strongman, late Baba Jobe, from hospital authorities who were taking a donkey years to release a dead body that has been in their custody for the past three days.
Baba Kajali Jobe, 52, a former leader of ruling APRC parliamentarians passed away since last weekend after spending almost a week admitted at RVTH. He had collapsed a week earlier under unclear circumstances at Mile Two, the country’s central prison at the outskirts of the capital, Banjul where he was condemned to nine year eight month jail term since April 2004 for economic crimes – fraud, tax evasion, among others – depriving The Gambia millions of dalasi.
Anticipating to receive Baba’s body from the hospital authorities for burial at his home village, relatives and other sympathisers of the late APRC strongman started flooding into Banjul early Monday morning. However, his corpse was not released till around 1pm and he was laid to rest at around 5:30 pm, but not without some uncontrollable scenes.  

Bun Sanneh: 'Mmang Fa Folodeh' - I’m Not Dead Yet

Bun Sanneh
Saddened and depressed, Mrs Mariama Sanneh's face bore hardness at the sight of her embattled husband put in chains and shackles at the High Court in Banjul yesterday, but she was able to put up a wry smile 
Her husband, Ebrima Bun Sanneh, former chief of The Gambia’s anti drug agency was wildly rumored dead on Monday.
Facing trial for multiple crimes which he denied, Mr Sanneh alongside four of his former senior colleagues is being remanded at Gambia’s Central Prison pending the outcome of their high profile trial.
The former NDEA chief was in a prison where information rarely leaks in or out, but he has apparently heard of the rumour of his death, which came the day the body of former majority leader of parliament, Baba Jobe, who had been kept at the same prison, was released for burial.
“Mmang faa folodeh,” - (I am not dead yet) the embattled anti-drug chief told his wife when he emerged from the courtroom at the end of the day’s proceedings, which saw him defending his guiltless claims against allegations of corruption, drugs among others.
Mariama could not help it, but smiled at her husband’s teasing remarks even though he was to be whisked away to the same place where two people have so far came out dead in a period of around two weeks.
Details of the court proceedings will be published Friday.

Police Officer Accuses Former Minister of Instigating Uprising in Gambia

Dr. Scattered Janneh
A police Inspector attached to Tallinding police station yesterday told the High Court in Banjul that Dr Scattered Amadou Janneh printed and distributed T-shirts to instigate an uprising against the Gambia government.
Police officer Sulayman Gaye made these allegations while testifying as state witness no.2 yesterday when hearings in the treason trial involving the former Information minister and three others resumed.
Dr Janneh is charged with treason, conspiracy and sedition alongside Michel C. Ucheh Thomas, Modou Keita and Ebrima Jallow for allegedly printing and distributing T-Shirts bearing the inscription: ‘Coalition for Change The Gambia, End to Dictatorship Now.’ They pleaded not guilty.
Gaye, who claims to be a member of the team that probed into the saga alleged further that Dr Janneh has given 8, 000 dalasi to the 2nd and 3rd accused persons to print the T. Shirts.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

‘Ex-Deputy Anti Drug Chief Gave-out Cocaine for Sale’

Ex-Anti Drug Chief
Mr Karamo Bojang, ex-deputy director general of National Drug Enforcement Agency has connived with his boss, Ebrima Bun Sanneh and gave over 500 grams of cocaine to one Manjang Janko to market for them, the court heard on Thursday.See.p.3
State prosecutor Ebrima Jaiteh revealed further that Manjang Janko sold the said drugs for 9, 000 US dollars and shared the proceeds with the fired top anti-narcotics agents.
But when he confronted Mr Ousman Sanneh, former operations commander of NDEA, the embattled anti drug agent denied the allegations.
Sacked in 2010, the five former top anti-narcotic officials: Ebrima Bun Sanneh, executive director, Karamo Bojang, his deputy, Ousman Sanneh, operations commander, Seedy  Bojang and Mary Sanneh the only female are facing 30 counts of corruption and drug related charges at high court in Banjul. They all pleaded not guilty.
“It is correct that the second accused person gave you some money from the $9, 000” the prosecution asked but the accused person said, it is not correct.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Ex Minister and Co’s Treason Trial Adjourned

accused persons
Justice Emmaneal Nkea yesterday withdrew his promise to proceed with the treason trial involving former minister, after defense lawyer, Lamin Camara made his medical reports available to show that his is ill.
On Tuesday, Justice Nkea had promised to continue with the trial with or without a defense lawyer after the lawyer for the accused persons, Lamin S. Camara was absent for the second time.
Lawyer Camara was reported to have undergone medical operation, but he presiding judge argued that, though he received a letter from lawyer Camara seeking for four weeks adjournment that he is sick, he said, no medical report was issued to court to confirm his sickness.
“Having read through the medical report sent to the court by Mr L.S Camara, and having listened to the learned DPP, I am minded in the interest of justice to further have the matter adjourned to November 1…” he however said yesterday.
Dr Janneh, former communication minister is charged with treason, conspiracy and sedition alongside Michel C. Ucheh Thomas, Modou Keita and Ebrima Jallow for allegedly printing and distributing T-Shirts bearing the inscription: ‘Coalition for Change The Gambia, End to Dictatorship Now.’
The accused persons could not however enter the plea ever since the matter was transferred to Special Criminal Court in June this year.

Witness: I Gave Money to King Colley

King Colley
Prime state witness against a senior police officer, Lamin King Kolley and co said, he has given money to Lamin King Kolley to process insurance and road tax for two vehicles for him.
Lamin King Colley, Ousman Manjang and Abdou William are charged with two counts: conspiracy and economic crime for allegedly making false declaration of license and road tax.
According to state prosecutor, Ebrima Jaiteh investigations into the allegations revealed that the senior police officer and the two men were involved in a D3 million scam.
They however denied the allegations when arraigned at Special Criminal Court on Wednesday.
“I paid over 16, 000.00 dalasi for the road tax and license for the two vehicles directly to Lamin King Colley,” Mr Omar Sallah, an insurance agent has testified.
The case resumes Nov. 3 2011.

Two Policemen Testify Against Anti-Drug Agents

Two policemen on Wednesday testified against the two anti-narcotic agents alleged to have tortured a drug suspect, Cherno Alieu Suwareh of Bakau to death in March this year.
Ebou Lowe and Eku Grant are standing trial at the Special Criminal Court in Banjul on allegation of murder, but they pleaded not guilty.
Testifying as state witness no.14, ASP Sereign Ndure, a police officer attached to Amdalaye police station said, Mr Lowe and Grant have been identified by witnesses as the anti-drug agents who unleashed torture on late Cherno Suwareh after they raided his house in Bakau.
He produced a report of the identification parade, which was then tendered as evidence.
However, when asked by the lawyer for Eku Grant whether the report indicates that the accused persons had tortured Mr Suwareh, he confirmed that the report did not indicate that the accused tortured the deceased.

‘My Client Didn’t Kill Her Baby’

Lawyer for a mother, who is accused of killing her baby after delivery on Wednesday made a tough argument in court in defence of her client, who she claimed is innocent of murder.
Kaddy Jabang, a native of Niani Kunteng village in rural-Central River region of The Gambia is charged with the murder of her newborn baby, who was found dead in a well. She however pleaded not guilty.
“No evidence has been established in court to show that my client killed her own child,” argued lawyer Oledi-Uduma on Wednesday at High Court in Banjul.
She made a submission of no-case-to-answer as the prosecution closed its case following the testimony of a lone witness, who she argued only tendered the picture of the baby.
Lawyer Uduma said, the prosecution has failed to prove that her client intentionally killed her baby.
She alleged that the state also fail to called other witnesses that were listed for fear that it will be an advantage for the accused person. “They have sealed information,” she added.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Police Still ‘Unaware’ of Soldier’s Alleged Killing of Old Woman

Police Spokeperson, ASP Mballow
Police in Banjul have continued to deny having any knowledge of the death of Mariama Ann, a retired civil servant, who died after a military officer, ran over her since Friday August 26.
The old woman, a retired cleaner at department of NGO affairs was knocked down at the outskirts of Mile 2 prison in Banjul where she went to visit her jailed son.
She died on the spot, said our sources, who could not identify the military officer, but suspect that he was from the newly established Hamza Barrack in Banjul.
But both the police and Ministry of Justice have denied knowledge of the incident.

“We are still not aware of her death,” police spokesperson Mballow told this paper at his office in Banjul, yesterday.
The deceased, Mariama Ann is a native of Sinchu Alagie village in West Coast Region of The Gambia.
One of her relative, Mr Antouman Gaye, a senior Gambian lawyer has confirmed that the imam of State House, Abdoulie Fatty, Imam Ratib of Banjul and two other military officers had paid condolence to the deceased’s family.
Yet, two months on, Gambia’s police spokesperson said, he received no information regarding the old woman’s death.
Lawyer Gaye has however assured that justice will be done. “We are not going to negotiate the matter,” he said.

Rural Women Deserve Better

The Gambia has though made some notable improvements in promoting gender equity in recent times, nonetheless, the reality remains that majority of Gambian women in general, rural women in particular continue to play a subservient role.
Their situation remains precarious – scratching poor quality soil with crude tools or bare hands in some instances for the survival of their families, yet they are considered second class family members. They are often battered and received barking orders to be served meals and provided other services as if they are slaves, not intimate partners.
As The Gambia joined the international community in celebrating International Rural Women day last Sunday, rural women say they deserve better. WOMEN’S BANTABA WRITES

Friday, October 7, 2011

WOJAG Prexy on Women’s Rights

“Today marks another milestone in the history of journalism in the Gambia because the female journalists in the country have decided to take charge of their rightful position in promoting gender issues.
 Let me begin by saying a big thank you to the African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies for making this capacity building training possible. The WOJAG identifies your institution as a true collaborator, and we believe that you have advancement of women on this continent at heart.
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, gender and gender related issues should be given high priority in our news media; we must make sure that all stereotyped cases are addressed clearly. We must promote/advocate equality in the eyes of the law and in our own social structure.
Promoting gender issues should be every body’s business, especially those who know what is right. Gender is not about fighting against each other; it is about fostering mutual understanding between partners.
It is our responsibility as gender activists to make sure that governments across the world are truly seen to promote and protect both practical and strategic gender needs.
Gender issues cannot be promoted without touching on the rights of women and these rights are crosscutting issues that require the attention of a wide range of stakeholders, including not only the women themselves but government, women’s rights organizations and human rights NGOs.
How much networking is there between the media and civil society organizations that deal with human rights? How much examination is done by the media of government policies and actions, the adequacies or implementations (or lack it) of legal provisions, the exposure of violations of women’s rights?
We women journalists have a big challenge; we should be in the forefront in educating, informing and advocating this rights/ issues affecting women in society.
It is common knowledge that women work longer hours than men. This is because of our gender triple roles which include community, productive and reproductive roles in our society. And still we receive no pay for our domestic chores.
As women we need to stretch our muscles and do more to defend ourselves  for  people to know that we are aware of the happening in our societies: women are being raped, forced to accept sex for a little paid job, and other discriminatory attitudes against us all in the name of she is a only a woman.
Women and Gender Inequities
In both developed and developing countries, women face gender-based inequities that often impede their ability to earn a living and better their lives and those of their families.

•    Women worldwide typically earn less than men for the same work, and their jobs are concentrated in lower paying industries and the informal sector. In addition family labor is usually unpaid.

•    Women tend to work longer hours under the double burden of domestic and remunerative labor.

•    Women constitute the majority of the world’s agricultural laborers, but receive only a small fraction of the available extension and support services.

•    Women have less access to and control over resources, benefits and opportunities, including land, assets, credits, training and household income.

•    Female-headed households are overrepresented among the poor and food insecure, and women and their children are the majority of refugees and displaced populations.
•    Women are further disadvantaged economically and socially because we often receive approximately half the years of schooling of men, and have less access to health care services and fewer legal rights.

Once again I must register my sincere gratitude to ACDHRS and GPU for building our capacities as women journalists.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Journalist Keita’s Lawyer Slams Arrest Order

Journalist Keita
The lawyer for journalist Nanama Keita has disapproved Banjul Magistrates’ Court order for the former Daily Observer newspaper’s sports editor to be arrested.
Mr Keita is charged with giving false information to a public officer when he petitioned his former employer, The Daily Observer Company to the Office of the President claiming, among others, wrongful termination of his engagement.
He however pleaded not guilty.
When the case resumed on Monday, Mr Keita, who was released on bail in the sum of D100, 000.00 was unavailable, but the court has granted his lawyer’s request for the matter to be adjourned.
Journalist Keita’s arrest warrant however came in the wake of reports that he has fled to the United States of America.
 “We’ve got information that the accused is not in town,” the prosecutor revealed upon his return in the courtroom almost 25 minutes after the case was adjourned. And the court granted his request for arrest warrant.

Lawyer Cham disapproves

“The matter should not have been called in my absence because the case was already adjourned by the magistrate,” lawyer Neneh M Cham told The Daily News in her office in Banjul on Monday.
“What the court should have done is wait till the next adjourned date and if the accused is absent, it can then issue an arrest warrant.”
Mrs Cham could not confirm reports that her client is not in the country, saying it is news to her. She added: “I don’t see any reason he should be scared of the case and I am not aware that he is not in town.”

Nanama in U.S

Meanwhile, The Daily News has however confirmed that Mr Keita has left the country via Dakar to attend the 2011 Reham al-Farra Memorial Fellowship Programme in New York, USA.
The six-week journalists fellowship, which starts Tuesday at United Nations headquarters brings together 14 young journalists representing media organisations in the Bahamas, Barbados, Cameroon, Croatia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Kiribati, Oman, Palau, Swaziland, Tajikistan and the United Arab Emirates.
Mr Keita has been confirmed as a participant, representing The Standard newspaper of The Gambia

Fired GRTS Reporter Not Surprise by His Conviction


magistrate Bojang

Mr Dodou Sanneh, a former staff of state-owned Gambia Radio and Television Services (GRTS) said, his conviction by the magistrates’ court in Banjul did not surprise him. Journalist Sanneh, who was speaking to this paper however declined to comment further.
The former GRTS reporter was charged with giving false information when he petitioned GRTS to the Office of the President, claiming that he was wrongfully dismissed by the state broadcaster in 2006. He had pleaded not guilty.
“I found you as guilty as charged,” magistrate Ma-Nyima Bojang told Sanneh in a parked courtroom at Banjul Magistrates’ Court yesterday bringing an end to the journalist’s seven month-long ordeal.
She ordered Mr Sanneh to pay D500 else spend six month in jail. The reporter however walked home as a freeman after Gambia Press Union (GPU) rushed to his aid by depositing the sum at the court.
Mr Sanneh’s engagement at the state media was terminated in 2006 for no stated reason. But according to GRTS Boss, the journalist was fired for ‘bias reportage’ when he was assigned to cover a mass political rally of the main opposition-United Democratic Party (UDP) in the run up to the presidential elections in 2006.
“You (Sanneh) knew why you were sacked because you exaggerated number of people when you were assigned to cover the UDP rally in 2006,” magistrate Bojang said in her judgement. “You have been warned many times by the GRTS management but instead of apologising, you acted negatively.”
The judgement came after the testimony of three witnesses, including GRTS boss Momodou Sanyang and a senior staff, Mr Kebba Dibba for the state and two defence witnesses for journalist Sanneh.
Mr Sanndeh was left without a legal representation after defense lawyer Borry Touray withdrew his representation when the magistrate rejected his request for a re-start of the trial.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Military Officer Allegedly Kills Old Woman: Justice Minister, Police say they are Unaware

Minister Gomez
Mrs Mariama Ann, a retired cleaner at the department of NGO Affairs met her untimely death on Friday August 26 after a military officer knocked her down with a vehicle at the outskirts of Mile 2 prison, The Daily News can report.
A native of Sinchu Alagie village in West Coast region, the old woman was returning home after paying a visit to her son, a convict who is being jailed at the country’s main prison in Banjul when the military man whose identify is yet to be disclosed ran over her. She died on spot, our sources said.
However, both the Gambia’s minister for Justice and the police spokesperson of The Gambia Police Force said, they are unaware of the tragic incident.
“I am not aware of it. I did not know any details. I can only know if the matter finds itself in the Justice ministry,” Justice Minister Edu Gomez told journalists at his office in Banjul on Tuesday.
He added: “We have nothing to hide. Only evil people do hide. We are open and people should not have feeling that we are autocratic.”
The spokesperson of The Gambia Armed Forces was unavailable for comment as he was said to be attending a training programme at Fajara army barracks.
The director of NGO Affairs, who had asked journalists to return yesterday when they first called on him was also said to be attending a meeting at the president’s office.
However, a senior Gambian lawyer Antoumana Gaye told The Daily News that, the imam of State House, Abdoulie Fatty, Imam Ratib of Banjul and two other military officers have paid condolence to the deceased’s family.
“Late Mariama is a relative [of mine] and the family thinks that it is too early to discuss the issue, but we are not going to negotiate the matter,” said lawyer Gaye.

Police Spokesperson Declines to Attend Online Journalist


Journalist John
Gambia police spokesperson yesterday refused to attend Mr Abdoulie John, a Gambian journalist working for U.S based news agency, Associated Press (AP).
“Go and seek clearance [from Inspector General of Police]. I don’t talk to those papers, because they are outside the country,” police spokesperson Yorro Mballow told Mr John, who also reports for Jollof News, a Gambian online news agency.
Mr John was investigating the death of Mariama Ann, a retired cleaner at the department of NGO affairs. The woman was allegedly knocked down to death by a military officer.
“I do my job with responsibility. When president Jammeh received the media at State House, he [Jammeh] never said that,” John told the police spokesperson, who insisted however that he cannot clarify any issue to the online journalist without clearance from the police IG.
“I have been getting information from the former police spokesperson, Sulayman Secka, but I was never asked to get any form of clearance,” Mr John, who views the action of spokesperson Mballow as an attack on press freedom told The Daily News.

Journalist Sanneh Believes His Wife, If Alive, Would Help

Journalist Sanneh
 Journalist Dodou Sanneh, a former staff of Gambia Radio and Television Services (GRTS), who is facing trial on a charge of false information, believes that his wife could have been supportive to him in his saga.
“My wife knew everything that transpired between me and GRTS,” Mr Sanneh told the magistrates’ court in Banjul on Wednesday.  Unfortunately, the wife is no more. She died in 2009.
The TV reporter had his services terminated by the public media in 2006. No reason was stated in his termination letter, but according to GRTS boss and a senior staff, Mr Sanneh was dismissed for ‘bias reportage’ when he was assigned to cover a mass political rally of main opposition-United Democratic Party (UDP) in the run up to the presidential election in 2006.
Sanneh however said his dismissal was wrongful. He was put under trial when he petitioned his former employer to the president’s office on that claim. But he denied any wrongdoing.
Three witnesses have testified for the state, but Mr Sanneh has only his niece to add weight  to his side of the story in the court.
When asked by the magistrate whether he has any other witness, he said, his wife could have been his witness, but she is dead and his former co workers are not cooperative.
“Some GRTS staff, who can help me produce evidences are not willing to come to court,” Mr Sanneh testified. And he even fears that his former co workers could turn out to be hostile witnesses.
“The office of the Ombudsman said the law does not allow them to come to court,” he went on to tell the court following which the magistrate ordered the ombudsman to make himself or any representative available during next sittings.
She also made an order for the accused person’s promotion letter as senior producer be produced by GRTS by next proceedings scheduled for September 5.
Testifying earlier was Nyima Drammeh, a niece to Dodou Sanneh, who told the court that his uncle, Mr Sanneh was arrested and detained for seven days when he was called to return to the office whilst he was on assignment in the North Bank of The Gambia.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Dr Touray: I Declined To Be Corrupted by the Spanish Woman

A theft suspect Dr Isatou Touray, the executive director of Gamcotrap, a prominent women’s rights advocacy organisation in The Gambia on Thursday ended her testimony amid startling revelations.
Dr Touray and Amie Bojang-Sissoho, programme officer at Gamcotrap are facing trial at the magistrates’ court in Banjul, the capital, on allegations of stealing 30, 000.00 euros from a Spanish NGO, Yolacamba.
Both pleaded not guilty.
In her testimony, which started some weeks ago, Dr Touray informed the court how her organisation entered into contract with the Spanish NGO.
She said, the funds they are alleged to have stolen were used as earmarked – to scale up campaign to eliminate the deep-seated cultural practice of female genital mutilation in The  Gambia.
When Begona Ballesteros Sanchez, the director of the Spanish NGO came into  The Gambia to visit project sites, Gamcotrap wrote a report on the monitoring and agreed on the dates of the dropping of the knives ceremonies and a public declaration by 36 circumcisers.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

University Vice Chancellor Receives D3.5m Per Annum Excluding…

Gumbo Touray
Lamin J Gassama, the second prosecution witness in the false information trial involving Dr Gumbo Touray, a lecturer at The University of The Gambia (UTG) on Tuesday said, UTG vice chancellor receives D3.5 million annually, excluding rent and other expenses.
Vice chancellor professor Mohammed Kah’s pay, according to Mr Gassama, an anti drug officer was revealed following an investigation which was mounted by state when Dr Touray alleged Kah of giving preferential treatment to blood relations at the country’s highest learning institution.
Dr Gumbo Touray is facing trail at the magistrates’ court in Banjul for allegedly lying to the Office of the President that Kah appoints his relatives in key positions at the University. He however pleaded not guilty.
 Testifying before Magistrate Ade Taiwo  Alagbe of the  Banjul Magistrates’ Court, the witness said that issues raised by the accused person are that the salary of the vice chancellor and other benefits that he enjoys are high and not in the interest of the University.
Gassama further testified that they have mounted an investigation upon receiving a directive from the president’s office to look into allegations contained in Mr Touray’s petition.  
He added: “during the course of the investigation it was revealed that vice chancellor Kah receives 3.5 million dalasis per annum excluding an annual rent of $10, 000.00, school fees of his children, salaries of his maids, security, electricity and water.”

Who Is Telling The Truth: Editor Jobe or You Nanama’s lawyer grills Editor Sallah

editor Sallah
Mr Assan Sallah, news editor of The Daily Observer newspaper was offered to referee which one is the truth: his side of the story or the dissimilar version of his immediate boss, Mr Alagie Jobe, the deputy editor- in- chief. And he decided in his favour, but did not make mention of his boss.’
The young editor, who doubles as the president of young journalists in The Gambia was giving testimony on Tuesday against fired co-worker, Mr Nanama Keita, who is facing false information trial at the magistrates’ court in Banjul.
The former deputy editor and head of sports desk of the pro-government newspaper is alleged to have presented false information by claiming wrongful termination of his engagement when he petitioned The Daily Observer Company to the Office of the President.
 Editor Keita however denied any wrongdoing.
“Between Jobe and yourself who is telling the truth,” his lawyer Neneh Cham-Chongan questioned Mr Sallah when he said that Nanama was present at a meeting that was prompted by a publication on Freedom, a Gambian online newspaper based in U.S,  which alleges financial malpractices by Mr Pa Malick Faye, the managing director.
“I am telling the truth,” responded Mr Sallah, who appeared as state witness no.2 and his testimony came after that of his boss,’ Mr Jobe, the prime state witness.
“I put it you that you are not telling the truth because Alagie Jobe had said that my client was never invited at the first meeting,” defense lawyer Neneh Cham charged, but Mr Sallah declined to give in.
Sallah said, he was present when a search was being conducted to find out who fed Freedom Newspaper. He denied that, Mr Keita was asked to sign in into his personal account. This, according to lawyer Cham is a distinct account with that of Alagie Jobe’s.
 “Would you be surprised that Alagie Jobe told the court that the accused had logged in and his e-mail account was searched thoroughly, but nothing was found about Freedom newspaper,” the defense lawyer enquired.
“No,” replied Mr Sallah, who went further to deny that Mr Keita former office, was opened when the Observer office complex was being refurbished.
“Your statement,” lawyer Cham put to him, “oh! Freedom oh! Sherriff Bojang’ is a complete fabrication and my client was never given the Quran to swear.” Mr Sallah however, maintained his point.
On whether or not Nanama was a deputy editor- in- chief of the company, Mr Sallah said, “Not to my knowledge.”
“Are you telling this court that your managing director was lying when he says in the attestation that the accused was the deputy editor-in-chief,” Neneh asked further and Sallah replied: “No.”
Neneh went on: “And did anybody hold that position without you knowing.” Assan replied: “No.”
The trial resumes August 31, 2011.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

‘Violence Against Women Poses Serious Threat to Achieving MDGs’

FLAG president Janeh Sallah-Njie
The continues violence against women is posing a serious threat to The Gambia’s efforts to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), said Gambia’s minister for Basic and Secondary Education.
Minister Fatou Lamin Faye made this observation on Thursday at a day-long training of trainers programme for 50 Gambian teachers on women right issues, including laws that protect the rights of women in Gambia.
Held at Paradise Suites Hotel under the theme: “Ending Violence in Society with Special Focus on Women and Girls,” the programme was organised by the  Female Lawyers Association of The Gambia (FLAG).
“One in three women is beaten, coerced into sex. And one in five women will be victim of rape or attempted rape in her lifetime,” said Minister Faye. “Half of women who die from homicides are killed by their current or former husbands or partners. For women age 15 to 44 years, violence is a major cause of death and disability.”
She said, violence against women does not only constitute gross violation of human rights but also has enormous social and economic and cost. It also undercuts the contribution of women to development, peace and security.
“Violence against women is the most pervasive yet least recognised human rights abuse in the world,” said Janeh Sallah-Njie, the president of FLAG.
A revered legal practitioner, Madam Sallah-Njie said, despite the enactment of the Women’s Act 2010, The Gambia’s legal system does not adequately cater for victims of abuse to seek redress.
Speaking on behalf of The Gambia Teachers Union (GTU), Marie Antoinette Corr highlighted that violence against women deprived many girls of right to education.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Prison Boss Named in another Scandal

David Colley
The Gambia’s director general of prisons, David Colley has been named in yet another prison scandal; this time accused of accepting a bank cheque from a treason convict whose whereabouts has been a subject of controversy.
“I witnessed Yusuf Ezzedeen hand over a Trust Bank cheque to David Colley,” Mr Lamin Jarju, an ex-convict told the magistrates’ court in Banjul on Monday as he testified in the criminal trial involving four prison officers.
A Gambian Lebanese national, Yusuf Ezzedeen alias Rambo was condemned to death for attempted coup last year alongside former defence chief Lang Tombong and six others, whose appeal at Appeal Court had been refused whilst Yusuf remains unseen in court for over four consecutive sittings.
Unconfirmed newspaper reports have it that the Lebanese has already reunited with his family in Lebanon after paying out his freedom.
And fresh allegations adduced by Mr Jarju, an ex-convict who claimed to have been David Colley’s cleaner during the five years he spent in jail are that Yusuf had handed-over a bank cheque to prisons boss and that the said cheque was cashed by Bakary Wharf Kujabi, a wanted prison officer.
Mr Jarju also revealed that David Colley gave him a charm for onward delivery to Ensa Badjie, former police chief, now a lifer.
He said, he knows Lang Tombong Tamba, ex-Chief of Defense Staff of The Gambia Armed Forces, now a death row convict and one Sainey Tamba.
“On each occasion that when Sainey brought food, he used to give me D1, 500.00. The D1, 000.00 for David Colley and D500 for me,” he said.
He revealed that the 1st accused person, Abdoulie Bojang one day gave him two Nokia mobile phones to give it to Lang Tombong Tamba and one Batch Faye at the security wing.
The Director of Public Prosecution, Abdoulie Mikalive at this juncture tendered the phones for evidence purpose.
Meanwhile, the four accused persons: Abdoulie Bojang, Solo Manga, Buba Badjie and Bakary Jammeh all pleaded not guilty to charges of corruption, destroying evidence, granting unauthorised communication to prisoners and introducing prohibited articles in prison
The case resumes August 24, 2011.

No Author on Freedom Publication But…

Nanama Keita
Although the article on alleged financial malpractices at The Daily Observer Company, which was published on FREEDOM newspaper bears no name, The Daily Observer newspaper’s deputy editor in chief insisted that Mr Nanama Keita, a former deputy editor in chief and sports editor is the author.
“If you read the article you will know who wrote it,” Alagie Jobe responded to Keita’s lawyer’s query, but he confirmed that there was no name on the said article.
Mr Nanama Keita is alleged to have presented false information to a public officer when he petitioned pro-government Daily Observer’s managing director to the president’s office on allegations of financial malpractices at the company, following what he terms as wrongful termination of his services. He denied wrongdoing.
 “It is correct that you don’t have any personal knowledge as  to who provided the information to FREEDOM,” lawyer Neneh Cham quizzed.
Editor Jobe however said, he has no personal knowledge. He affirmed that it was as a result of the petition that the police and anti-drug agency mounted an investigation into the matter.
Alagie Jobe denied receiving any response from the office of the president directing the matter be investigated.
Editor Jobe also rebuffed that the accused came to the office on several occasions to discuss and to resolve the matter.
“He came to beg the Managing Director to forget the past. He even begged me,” Jobe said, but the lawyer argued that that statement is untrue.
Jobe also affirmed that the accused was not invited to the meeting they held subsequently after the article was published on the freedom newspaper.
 When asked if the accused person was a member of the senior management team of The Daily Observer, Jobe replied that there is no senior management team.
 “I am the only one representing the editorial team at the management level,” he added.
The case will resume Monday 22, August 2011.

Dodou Sanneh’s Counsel Wants Case to Start Over

Lawyer Touray
The counsel for the fired state-owned television reporter has filed an appeal at the High Court in Banjul for a re-start of the false information trial against his client, journalist Dodou Sanneh.
Borry Touray who took over the case two weeks ago made this announcement on Monday when the case resumed at Banjul Magistrates' Court.
Mr Sanneh is accused of giving false information to a public officer that his engagement was wrongfully terminated when he petitioned GRTS to the Office of the President. He denied the charge.
Sanneh was expected to open his defence after the magistrate ruled against his lawyer’s request to free him.
The prosecution lawyer, who stated that he is satisfied with the evidence against the accused person after calling three witnesses - a police officer and two GRTS staff - is expected to file an affidavit on the motion which will be argued on the next sitting.
The case resumes 18 August, 2011.
 It could be recalled that Dodou Sanneh, a former reporter with  GRTS was sacked on 8 September 2006, while covering the presidential campaign of the opposition United Democratic Party (UDP). He was reinstated within a week, given 20 days work leave only to be sacked again on 20 November 2006  

Bar Association Meeting Defers GAMCOTRAP Officials’ Trial

Dr Isatou Touray
The trial involving two officials of GAMCOTRAP, a prominent Gambian non-governmental organisation that advocates for the elimination of harmful traditional practices yesterday failed to proceed due to a Gambia Bar Association meeting.
The accused persons Dr. Isatou Touray and Amie Bojang-Sissoho were in court together with one of the counsel, Lamin Mboge who urged the court to adjourn the matter.
 “As I am speaking the meeting is in progress and I urge the court to adjourn the matter,” he pleaded.
“I was informed,” said the magistrate before adjourning the matter to August 25, 2011.
It could be recalled that the two top Gamcotrap officials are accused of stealing €30, 000.00 provided to them by YALOCAMBA SOLIDARIDAD, a Spain-based NGO.
However, eight months into the trial, Dr Touray and Mrs Bojang-Sissoho have maintained their innocence, though eight state witnesses, including the director of YALOCAMBA SOLIDARIDAD had testified.

Interior Minister Was Aware of The Torture

Interior Minister Sonko
Former operations commander of the National Drug Enforcement Agency (NDEA), Mr Ousman Sanneh has said that the minister of Interior Ousman Sonko was aware of the torture meted out on two anti-drug officers by four personnel of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) in 2009.
“Minister Sonko was aware of the torture because Ebrima Bun Sanneh reported the matter to him,” Sanneh said while testifying in the torture case involving the four NIA operatives.
The trial which is underway at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court involves Lamin Darboe, Ebrima Drammeh, Edrissa Jobe and Omar Jammeh.
They are alleged to have caused grievous bodily harm to Lamin Kabou and Lamin Sima by beating them with fist blows, electric cables and metals at the NIA headquarters in Banjul. All accused persons denied the charges.
Sanneh’s statement according to the accused person’s lawyer was a bit in conflict with the former NDEA boss, Bun Sanneh who had told the court that the matter was not reported to Minister Sonko. But the witness maintained that what he had said the truth.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Ex-Police Chief Gets Life Sentence for Robbery

Jailed police chief, Ensa Badjie

Even as two other criminal trials hang over his head, The Gambia’s former hardliner police chief was Friday sentenced to life imprison for a myriad of wrongdoings, including robbery.
Ex Inspector General of Police (IGP) Ensa Badjie has been also found wanton of aiding the escape of a condemned robbery gang leader from lawful custody and received stolen properties.
Badjie was also found guilty of interfering and deceiving witnesses to an unstated criminal venture, together with Ali Ceesay, a prison officer who has been ordered either to pay a D30, 000.00 fine or risk a three-year jail term.
The former law enforcement officers, now law breakers had denied the charges, even after several witnesses to their condemned conducts affirmed the accusations.
“Although Soriba Condeh is a criminal, the evidence he gave is credible,” Justice Ikpala of Special Criminal Court said, referring to the incriminating revelations by inmate Soriba Condeh, who confessed being the leader of robbery gang, whose robbery operations were masterminded by the former police chief.
Following his appointment, Ensa Badjie was hailed by Gambian president Yahya Jammeh as best police IG ever, despite the rising crime, especially murder and robbery during his tenure.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Deceased Forcefully Have Sex with My Wife- Says Accused Person

 Falley Colley,  who is alleged to have caused the death of one Kajili Sanneh said the deceased had  forced himself on her  wife some times in 2009  at his(accused)  own house in NemaKunda, West Coast Region.
“The deceased forcefully have sex with my wife who was in her menstrual period inside my house,”  Falley Colley told a crowded  courtroom.
Mr. Colley made these revelations yesterday at the Special Criminal Division as he defend his innocence of  the alleged  murder.  He denied the accusation.
Despite my wife refusal Colley added, the deceased went on to make love to her. He said he was not shocked because that  was the  second time he found the deceased on top of his wife.
He said when the deceased attempted to ran; he told him that there was no need for him to  do so.
 “Because I understand that my wife doesn’t love me”. He adduced that the deceased then apologized and went out.
In the evening,  he said I went to my sister to lodged  complain but I was attacked by the deceased.
“He threatened that he will beat me  if I entered  their compound . But my sister asked me to come in,” he added.
“And the moment I entered the compound,  the deceased started throwing blows on me and my sister  asked  neighbors to hold  him,”  Colley adduced.
He further testified that he narrated the whole story to her  sister and later went home only to be called by the Wellingara Police on the following morning that he was needed at the station.
He said at the station he found the  deceased who claimed  that he was beaten.
 “ I did not beat him because we are related”.
Colley further stated that the deceased was taken to the hospital for examination but nothing was found  to be in a good condition of health.
. “I was charged for trespass at the station and deceased was charged for rape”.
Trial continues  18 October,  2011 for cross-examination.

Three Wounds on Cherno Deceased’s Head-Barber Tells Court

One Ousman Mballow of Banjul Haddinton Street has told the Special Criminal Division before Justice Ikpala of the High Court in Banjul that there were three wounds on Cherno Alieu Suwareh’s head, now deceased.
 A barber by professional, Ousman said while he was at his salon, he received a called that he is needed at the Royal Victorial Teaching Hospital to barb a sick person.
Mballow was testifying against the two anti-drug officers, Ebou Lowe and Eku Grant who were on the 25th March 2011 alleged to have unlawfully caused the death of Cherno Alieu Suwareh by hitting his head with batons and knocking his head against the wall in Bakau Sanchaba.
“While I was cutting his hair, Cherno was shouting and I came to notice that there were three wounds on the right side of his head,” he said.
He added that the deceased’s hair was later put in a dustbin and his service was paid.
Both counsel for the accused persons did not cross-examine the witness.
Sulayman Jallow, a niece to the deceased also testified as state witness no 6. He alleged that the first accused person, Ebou Lowe used baton to hit his uncle while effecting arrest on him.
 “When I entered the house I saw my uncle bleeding with his hands on cuff he said.  
“The 1st accused lifted my uncle by pulling his rasta’s and forced him inside the vehicle,” Jallow added.
During crossed- examination, Jallow remained defiant that Ebou Lowe hit his uncle.
 “I saw everything as I was standing at the window,” he said.
Lawyer Conteh, counsel for Lowe, put to the witness that he was not truthful to the court because the officers wouldn’t allow him inside while effecting an arrest.
 “I was there and I saw everything,” Jallow responded.
The case was adjourned to October 18, 2011.