Monday, November 29, 2021

IN THE NIA 9 CASE: ‘‘I Can See ‘Bambadinka’ From My Office’’ SS. BAH


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By Yankuba Jallow

Seedy Saidy Bah, the fourteenth prosecution witness in the ongoing criminal trial of the former NIA Chiefs, on Tuesday continued to tell the Court that he saw what was happening at “Bambadinka” while he was sitting at his office.

PW14 Bah said this before Justice Kumba Sillah Camara of the Banjul High Court whilst under cross examination by Lawyer Emmanuel E. Chime, Counsel for 1st accused person, Yankuba Badjie  

“You told the Court that James Mendy made a call to you through the intercom,” asked Lawyer Chime.

“I was on duty with my boss (Mbemba Camara). That was the time he called me instructing me to take the keys (of Bambadinka),” SS. Bah responded.

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“I am putting it to you that the Agency never had an intercom particularly by the 14th April,” Chime told the witness.

“We have intercom and all of us have CD-Lines,” the witness responded.

“What is CD-Lines?” Chime asked.

“Is called CD-Lines because they bring (brought) it to us, so that if we want to make calls, we can do so without credit,” Bah replied.

Lawyer Chime told the witness that at his (the witness) office near the main gate, he cannot see what was happening at ‘Bambadinka’, because there were blockages such as a fence and building.

“Between your office and ‘Bambadinka’ there is a fence and the office of Director of the Agency. How can you see Bambadinka from your office?” Chime asked.

“Bambadinka’ is located at the building. When you are at our office, it is the one you see. My office has a door and when you’re sitting at the door, you can closely see ‘Bambadinka’ because there is nothing between us,” Bah responded.

“If you are at your Office or duty post, can you see the Office of the Director of NIA?” Chime asked.

“No. When you are at the main gate, you cannot see the office of the Director General,” replied Bah.

“You’re not a truthful witness. You told the Court that you were the one responsible to open and close the main gate, whilst Mbemba Camara your boss, also told the Court that he was responsible for opening and closing the cells,” said Chime.

Bah replied that he cannot say anything concerning the duty work of Mbemba Camara; that he (the witness) used to open and close the cells.

“Is it correct that Mbemba was not responsible for the opening and closing of the cells?” asked Chime.

“As I stated earlier, I cannot say something about Mbemba’s duty. All I can say is that I used to open and close the cells,” the witness said.

During his cross-examination of the witness, Lawyer Ibrahim Jallow asked PW 14 whether the security unit was under the Director of Operation. In response, the witness said ‘‘Yes.’’

The witness replying on his role, told the Court that he joined the Agency in January 2008 and his duty was to open and close the gate and keeping records. In addition, he said he used to go and check the detainees and buy food for them.

‘‘Was checking on detainees and buying them food, part of your duties?” asked Lawyer Jallow.

“Yes it was part of my job,” the witness replied.

The witness also told the Court that the Security Unit of the Agency has regimentation and it is based on a chain of command.

“Is it correct that you take orders from your boss under your department?” asked Lawyer Jallow.

“It depends. You may act on certain conditions when your boss is not available. You can act but there are certain circumstances, it is only your boss who can act,” the witness replied.

“You said on the 14th April 2016, your bosses, James and Mbemba, were available. Now do you receive an order from an officer who is not part of your unit (security unit)?” Counsel Jallow posed.

“Yes, that is possible. You can receive orders from directors, like the Director of Operation. Service is all about the chain of command,” the witness replied.

“You mentioned before the Court that Sheikh Omar Jeng came to you and asked for the diary. Is it normal for the Director of Operation to bypass the head of security James Mendy, and the Shift Leader Mbemba Camara? Is that part of the chain of command?” asked Counsel Jallow.

“Yes, that is possible because I myself, Mbemba Camara and James Mendy, were all under Sheikh Omar Jeng, the then Director of Operations,” SS. Bah answered.

“Is the internal Security Unit under the office of the Director of Operations?” asked Lawyer Jallow.

“The Director of Operations is responsible for our whole internal security and we are all under that umbrella,” Bah replied.

The witness denied having a hand in the whole issue when Counsel Jallow told him that he was part of it, because he was the one who opened for them to be taken into the cell, and opened for them to be taken out, saying he did not arrest them.

The witness also told the Court that the detainees were being brought by Baba Danso and it was later that Baboucar Sallah, the 4thaccused person and Tamba Masireh, the 7th accused person, joined him. The witness averred in his evidence that in addition to Baba Danso, there were three Personnel from the Police Intervention Unit (PIU).

The witness told the court that the vehicle that brought the detainees, were vehicles from the Operations Unit of the Agency.

“Was there any indication or mark, that the vehicles were from the Operations Unit, because there are many vehicles with the same description and colour, that some other security units like the police have, and was there any people working under the Operations Unit.” asked Lawyer Jallow.

“I recognized the vehicles and the vehicles I saw, belong to Operations,” Bah responded.

Lawyer S. Fatty, Counsel for the 4th, 5th, 7th and 8th accused persons, commenced cross-examining the witness but time elapsed and the matter was subsequently adjourned to today, May 9th  2018 at 1 pm, for continuation of hearing.

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