Wednesday, November 30, 2011

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

Add caption
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

Add caption

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.