By Yankuba Jallow
Ex-Corporal Alagie Kanyi has on Monday told the Banjul High Court that he has no relationship with ex-Captains Edward Singhatey and Yankuba Touray before 1995.
Touray, an ex-military man together with ex-President Yahya A.J.J Jammeh, Edward Singhatey, Sanna Sabally and Sadibou Hydara unseated the PPP Government headed by ex-President Sir Dawda Kairba Jawara in a bloodless coup on the 22nd July 1994. After the coup, Touray was appointed as the Minister of Local Government and Lands during the reign of the Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council (AFPRC) from 1994 to 1996.
Touray is facing trial for the murder of Ousman Koro Ceesay, an ex-Minister of Finance under the AFPRC regime who was killed in June 1995. Touray declined to take his plea as he invoked what he called his constitutional immunity, but the court entered a plea of ‘not guilt’ for him.
The prosecution has brought five (5) witnesses and Kanyi is the sixth (6th) prosecution witness in this case. He testified that he was present at the time Koro Ceesay was being murdered.
The witness told the court while he was in his residence in Brikama in 1995, Corporal B.K Jatta and Corporal Tumbul Tamba came there and informed him that he was needed by Edward Singhatey, the then vice-chairman of the defunct AFPRC Government.
Kanyi, now an officer of the Gambia Immigration Department said Corporal Tamba was driving and he picked up Corporal Pa Alieu Gomez at Bartes in Serekunda before proceeding to Singhatey’s residence in Bakau, Cape Point where they met Peter Singhatey and they headed for Yankuba Touray’s residence in Kerr Serign.
“At Yankuba’s residence, we met him but we did not found any of his family members there and no guards were around. When we entered the house, we were briefed by Edward Singhatey that we were going to get rid of one ‘fucking minister called Ousman Koro Ceesay’,” he stated.
Kanyi added: “Edward told me that Koro didn’t know me so I should wait for them at the gate while they were going to see off Yahya Jammeh at the airport.”
Kanyi testified that he was left at the residence of Touray while Edward, Peter and Touray went to the airport. He said when they returned from the airport, Peter hurried into the house and Edward and Koro Ceesay followed.
Kanyi said he suddenly heard noise behind him and when he turned, he saw Ceesay on the floor. Kanyi said he saw Peter Singhatey, Edward Singhatey, Yankuba Touray (the accused person), Tumbul Tamba, B.K Jatta, and Pa Alieu Gomez hit Ceesay until he died.
He said the place where Koro was killed was splashed with blood and Edward instructed them to put the body of the decease on the front seat of Ceesay’s official car. According to Kanyi, he together with Pa Alieu Gomez and Tumbul Tamba cleaned the bloodstains on the floor as Peter, Edward and Yankuba left with the decease. Kanyi said the following day, he saw Peter’s arm was burnt.
Defence counsel A. Sisoho on Monday, 24th February 2020 cross-examined Kanyi on his evidence before Justice Ebrima Jaiteh of the Banjul High Court.
“Is it true that you never had any relation with Edward Singhatey?” Lawyer Sisoho asked.
“We started to have relationship after that operation (the murder of Ousman Koro Ceesay),” Alagie Kanyi said.
“Is it true that from 1985 to 1995, you did not have any relationship with Edward Singhatey?” Sisoho asked.
“Other than work I have no other relationship with him. We only had relationship in the job,” Kanyi responded.
“Are you telling this court that from 1985 to 1995 you worked with Edward Singhatey?” Sisoho asked again.
“No sir,” Kanyi said.
“Is it not true that you don’t have a personal relationship and a professional relationship with Yankuba Touray (the accused person)?” Sisoho inquired.
“I only have job relationship with Yankuba Touray (the accused person),” Kanyi said.
“When Yankuba Touray (the accused person) was the Platoon Commander in Farafenni and Kudang were you part of his men?” Sisoho asked.
“Not at all,” the witness said.
“So, therefore, you never worked with Mr. Touray,” Sisoho said.
“Yes, we worked together in the same company, but not the same troop,” Kanyi replied.
“Which company was that?” Sisoho asked.
“We worked in Bravo Company and Chally Company,” Kanyi said.
“Which year was that?” the lawyer asked.
“I can’t remember,” Kanyi said.
“What was your rank in that year?” Sisoho asked.
“I was a Lance Corporal and I was later promoted to Corporal,” the witness replied.
“What was the accused person’s rank?” Lawyer Sisoho asked.
“He (the accused person) was a Corporal then promoted to a Sergeant,” the witness said.
Sisoho said “I am putting it to you that Mr Touray has never worked with you in the army” but in reply Kanyi said “no, Yankuba Touray (the accused person) has worked with me in Kudang”.
When asked the year he was posted in Kudang, Kanyi said it was in 1987 and he was there till 1989.
“I am putting it to you that between 1987 and 1992 Mr Touray (the accused person) did not work in Kudang,” Sisoho told Kanyi.
“No sir, he has worked in Kudang under Sheikh Omar Faye and this was during the Confederal Battallion,” Kanyi said.
“I am further putting it to you that Mr Touray (the accused person) has never worked under Sheikh Omar Faye,” Sisoho said, but in reply, Kanyi said “no sir, he (the accused person) worked under Sheikh Omar Faye.”
When Lawyer Sisoho put it to the witness that when the accused person came from his training in the USA as a commissioned officer 1992, he (Kanyi) was not part of his men (troop), Kanyi said he left Kudang in 1989 saying “I never worked in Kudang in 1992”.
“You remember in your evidence-in-chief you said you went to Edward Singhatey’s residence in Cape Point?” Sisoho asked.
“Yes, I said I went to Edward Singhatey’s residence,” Kanyi said.
“Is it not true that you have testified before the TRRC on the 28th February 2020 about the death of Koro Ceesay?” Sisoho asked.
“Yes,” Kanyi responded.
“I am putting it to you that your evidence in-chief before this honourable court and your evidence before the TRRC are not the same,” Sisoho said.
“It makes no difference on the side of Koro Ceesay,” Kanyi said.
“What time did you arrive at Cape Point at the residence of Edward Singhatey,” Sisoho said.
“Upon arrival who were there?” the senior lawyer asked.
“I saw only Edward and Peter (Singhatey) inside the compound,” Kanyi responded.
“Did you go inside the compound?” Sisoho asked.
“Yes,” Kanyi retorted.
“Did you see any guard or guard post when you entered?” Sisoho asked.
“I can’t remember seeing anybody,” Kanyi said.
“Did you see Edward’s family; wife, children niece in the compound?” asked Sisoho.
“No sir, I did not see any of those you mentioned,” Kanyi said.
“Did you see any third parties (human beings) in the compound?” Sisoho questioned.
“I saw nobody,” the witness said.
Kanyi said throughout their stay at Edward Singhatey’s residence, he can’t remember seeing anyone apart from Edward and Peter Singhatey.
Sisoho asked the witness why the difference in the evidence before the TRRC and the court because before the court he said he wasn’t briefed at Edward’s home while before the Commission, he said he was briefed there.
“At that time we were not briefed. When Edward entered his house we were wondering what was wrong. It was after we arrived he told us that we were going to rid of one ‘fucking cult’ and we were wondering who this cult was” Kanyi said.
The matter was adjourned to Tuesday, 24th February 2020 at 2:15 for the continuation of the cross-examination of Kanyi by Lawyer Sisoho.
Principal State Counsel A.M Yusuf together with Lawyers Abdoulie Colley, A.A Saho and Muhammed B. Sowe represented the Attorney General while Lawyer A. Sisoho appeared for Yankuba Touray.