Saturday, November 5, 2011

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.
He alleges Jobe of doing (unexplained) unscrupulous operations under the cover of NIA officers without informing the NDEA command.
“This led to a serious confrontation between the two security agencies and such was the result of the charges against Alhaji Morr Jobe and Lamin Darboe at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court,” Sanneh explained.
Ibrahim Bun Sanneh has been earlier accused of paying out D140,000 to Marie Sanneh, the fifth accused person and another sum to Alieu Sanneh, a mechanic working for NDEA.
But when he was asked to clarify the matter by his counsel, Kebba Sanyang, Mr Sanneh denied allegations that he made an order for the said sum to be paid to Marie Sanneh.
He however admitted that Alieu Sanneh was a mechanic working for the NDEA and he recalled a certain vehicle with registration number BJL 9394B being confiscated by a court and given to the NDEA.
According to the former NDEA boss, the said vehicle was involved in drug transportation and as the executive director, he made a proposal for the vehicle to be repaired and used to deliver services to both the Ministry of Interior and the NDEA, but his proposal was later turned down by the then IGP.
“I gave instructions to Seedu Bojang, the fourth accused to ask the mechanic to repair the vehicle for the said use,” he explained further.
“The said the vehicle was parked at City I in Bijilo, which is another property that was confiscated and given to the NDEA.
According to him, when Alieu Sanneh, the mechanic called to say that the vehicle was at the Basse garage in Banjul loading items for transportation to Basse, he instructed the mechanic to return with immediate effect.
But after giving that instruction to the mechanic, he said, he later saw both Alieu Sanneh and Seedu Bojang with a document which they claimed was a list of items loaded on the vehicle for transportation to Basse.
Bun Sanneh however said, he insisted that the vehicle be returned to its base in City I.
“I was surprise when the NIA officers questioned me about the said issue. I told them all I said about the vehicle and I stood by my statement,” the former NDEA boss said.
He said, even Alieu Sanneh told the NIA officers that Seedu Bojang tried to convince him  to say the proceeds realised from the said vehicle transportation was given to the executive director but the mechanic refused.
He added that when Alieu Sanneh narrated this to the NIA officers, Alhaji Morr Jobe gave him (Alieu) a slap.

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