By Kemeseng Sanneh (KEXX)
Mustapha Jabbie, a businessman on Monday testified in the alleged foiled coup trial involving four personnel of the Gambia Armed Forces (GAF) and one policeman.
The resident of Kerr Sering is the fifth prosecution witness in this matter. He gave evidence of his engagements with the alleged coup plotters by using his vehicle and facilitating their meetings with marabouts.
He testified that he first knew Fabakary Jawara (5th prosecution witness) who introduced Sanna Fadera (1st Accused Person) to him.
Jabbie said he had a business relationship with Fabakary Jawara. The witness said he wanted to purchase a 10-wheel truck and asked Fabakary to help him with people selling trucks. Later, they exchanged contact and Fabakary later sent him pictures of trucks via WhatsApp. The witness said he chose the one he wanted and sent it back to Fabakary.
After the truck deal, the witness said one evening in October 2022, he got a telephone call from Fabakary Jawara who said he wanted to meet him. He did not meet Sanna Fadera on that day but on the following day, he returned to Fabakary’s house where he met Sanna Fadera. He explained that Fabakary requested him to drive Sanna to the bush on the following Sunday to wash his body with a concoction that was prepared by a marabout.
The witness said on that particular Sunday he drove Sanna Fadera and Fabakary Jawara to the bush for Sanna Fadera to take bath. He added that on their way home he (Mustapha Jabbie) pointed at a compound directing Sanna and Fabakary that there is a good marabout but Sanna was in a haste because he was supposed to report to work and his phone was ringing constantly.
He said he conveyed Fabakary Jawara to Busura to see the marabout Yaya Manjang and on arrival, Fabakary explained the purpose of their visit. He explained that the marabout told him that the best time to do the coup is between December 2022 and January 2023, if not the coup will fail. He said Fabakary went back to the marabout on his own and the marabout asked them to take out some charities and further directed them to marabouts in Mauritania, Mali and Guinea Bissau.
The witness said he helped Sanna speak to a marabout in Mauritania with the help of his uncle. He told the court that Sanna spoke to the marabout directly from Mauritania over the phone and asked him to do a spiritual search (fortune telling) about his planned coup. The witness said Fabakary asked his uncle to support them financially to embark on the coup and his uncle was able to give them D10,000.
The witness said his uncle called him to a meeting at his shop at the Buffer Zone where he advised him to stay away from military personnel since he is a civilian. Jabbie said he adhered to his uncle’s advice but he still had a pending transaction with Fabakary regarding the truck. At the time, he said he had already invested money in the truck business and did not receive it yet.
The witness said on 18 December 2022 Fabakary Jawara called him to come and pick Sanna and his team to transport them to Kafuta where they were supposed to have their meeting. He added that he told Fabakary that his vehicle had a breakdown and that when he fixed it, he will come. The witness said he was being called repeatedly by Fabakary and Sanna.
The witness said he picked Sanna Fadera and Karamo Jabbie and later picked Ebrima Sannoh in Brikama. He testified that they drove to Kafuta where they met Gibril Darboe (2nd Accused Person). He said Sanna and his colleagues did have their meeting while he was in the car waiting for them. He added that after the meeting he drove them back home.
The witness said he was arrested on 30th December 2022 around the GTBank Branch in Senegambia. His arrest came about after receiving a call from Fabakary who told him that he wanted to meet him and they agreed to meet at the GTBank branch. He was picked by security personnel and taken to the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) headquarters where he was interrogated. His statement was taken at the Banjul police station and was detained for five (5) days and arraigned before the Banjul Magistrate’s Court on two criminal charges – that he was aware of a coup plot and did not report it. He was accused of conspiring with people with the intention to overthrow the Government. He was briefly detained at Mile 2 and was arraigned before the high on two occasions. He was later discharged.
The case was adjourned to Tuesday, 7th March 2023 at 1 pm for cross-examination.