By Yankuba Jallow
Momodou Gaye, an erstwhile deputy Inspector General of Police has blamed the Judiciary for their engagement in the human rights violations that happened under former President Yahya A.J.J. Jammeh’s regime.
Gaye appeared before the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission on Monday, 23rd November 2020 to detail his ordeal under Jammeh’s rule.
The ex-deputy police chief said the ex-President was using non-Gambian judges to send people to jail at the pleasure of the regime.
He called on the TRRC to invite those judges to appear before the Commission to give evidence as to how they were operating in view of the ‘Never Again’ slogan.
“They were trying to bribe me to give false evidence against Lang Tombong Tamba, but I refused,” the witness said.
The ex-deputy IG was charged with treason and concealment of treason together with former Chief of Defense Staff Lang Tombong Tamba and others. They were convicted by the High Court together with ex-Chief of Defense Staff Lang Tombong Tamba and others to death. Their sentence was lowered from death to life imprisonment by the Justices of the Supreme Court on review of their case.
“The information we get was that the witnesses who testified against us were paid. Njogu Bah was the Secretary General then, he should be able to tell the truth because he knows something about it,” the witness said.
The witness said he came to know about this from Bai Lowe and other State Guard soldiers who were later detained at Mile 2.
He served six years and 6 months in and was pardoned by former President Jammeh in 2015.
The Banjul born alleged that the witnesses who testified against them before the court were all paid to give false evidence against them.
“The charges against me and the evidence against me were all false,” the witness said.
He said the former regime brought mercenary judges to do whatever was in their favour.
He said the presiding Judge was Emmanuel Amadi. He testified that Amadi was a magistrate in Brikama and was sending people to jail, adding in this respect, he was made a High Court Judge by the Government. He said at the high court, Justice Amadi was doing the same thing for the regime and was the one who convicted them.
The former officer commanding Kanifing Division said he has never attempted a coup and has never discussed it with anyone.
“I will never do that,” he said.
He testified that the State wanted to use him as a witness against the alleged coup leader, Lang Tombong Tamba.
“I refused to testify against Lang Tombong. The then Director of Public Prosecution wanted to use me, but when I refused, that was when we received our indictments,” he said.
The former Deputy Inspector General of Police said there was a day when he was called to go to the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) during the day. Upon arrival, he said he found a boy who was saying he [Gaye] gave him the mobile number of ex-IG Ensa Badjie.
“When I arrived, the boy said he does not know me, so I was let to go,” he said.
He said the investigators told him that the boy was telling lies and he should go home. He explained that in the evening of the same day, he was called back to the NIA and this time he was detained.
Gaye said he was arraigned before a panel of investigators headed by ex-General Saul Badjie. The other panel members according to the witness were former IG Ensa Badjie, Bora Colley, Sukuta Jammeh, Lieutenant Alagie Camara and some others who he couldn’t recall.
Gaye said the panellists were imposing the boy on him who he later came to know as Ebrima Marrah. He explained that after the interrogation at the NIA, he was detained together with Lang Tombong Tamba, Kawsu Camara, Lie Joof, Bo Bojang and Yankuba Touray at Mile 2.
He said he was not told he was under arrest, nor charged and was detained unlawfully. He told the Commission that their particulars were taken at the DG Prisons Office and he was taken to Confinement.
He said the following day, he was taken back to the NIA and it was the day he wrote his statement. He added no independent witness present.
He said in the evening of the same day, he was arraigned before another panel of investigators in the persons of Sukuta Jammeh, Solo Bojang and others. He averred that the investigators asked him again about his relationship with the boy who alleged that he [the witness] and Lang Tombong Tamba sent him to Farafenni to go and spy for them; that one Rui Jabbi-Gassama was supposed to come with some mercenaries and he [the boy] was supposed to receive the attackers on their behalf.
The witness said Lang Tombong was the CDS and couldn’t have used a civilian to do spying for him at a military barracks under him.
He said the other investigators packed their things and left leaving Solo Bojang and his team.
“They [the investigators] were just trying to fabricate evidence to exonerate themself because they were the first to be accused of the coup,” the witness said.
He said the investigators knew at the time that the former President was annoyed with Lang Tombong Tamba. He said the annoyance of the President came following his visit to the Yundum Barracks and found them in bad condition.
“The President sacked Lang Tombong and was still annoyed with him. The problem coincided with his sacking,” the witness said.
The witness said the panellist were certain that the boy does not know him, but were adamant to exonerate themselves and throw everything on them.
The witness alleged that he was tortured during the course of the investigation. He said he was tortured by Solo Bojang and his team with the use of batons and sticks. He said during the course of torture, a plastic bag was placed over his head. He explained the torture did not last long and it was Alagie Morr who ordered the torturer to stop beating him. The witness was taken back to the room and was later transported to the NIA.
“I did not sustain major injuries during the torture,” the witness said.
He (PIU) said he spent three months at Mile 2 and was brought back before a panel headed by Bora Colley. He said this time, he was charged with the offences of treason and concealment of treason.
He said after this, he was taken to the NIA at night on several accounts together with Lang Tombong Tamba, but was quick to add he was not tortured in any of his night visits to the NIA which was a known detention center.
He added: “They [State] wanted one of us to testify against the other, but this was not successful.”
He testified that Solo Bojang fallout with Yahya Jammeh and was brought to the NIA.
“Solo Bojang found me in Mile 2 and he explained to me the tortures he underwent. He went through what he used to do to people,” the witness said.