NIA Operative Testifies in Taranga FM Manager’s Trial


By RoheyJadama Mr.Foday L. Bojang, an operative working at the special investigationAlhaji Abdoulie Ceesay, Manager Teranga FM unit of the NIA, yesterday,  3rd September, testified as the first prosecution witness (PW1) in the ‘Sedition and Publication of False News’ case involving Mr.AlagieAbdoulieCeesay, the Manager of Taranga FM radio. He testified before Justice Mohammed Dan AzumiBalarabe of the Banjul High Court. The state was represented by HadiSaleh  Barkun, the Director of Public Prosecutions(DPP),  while Lawyer Combeh Gaye-Coker announced her representation for the accused person. When the court interpreter attempted to give Mr.Bojang the Quran to swear, the witness declined to swear on it but instead told the court that he wants to affirm. This was allowed by the court. PW1 told the court that he lives in New Yundum and works at the special investigation Unit of the NIA and that he recognised the accused person. He adduced that on the 20th of July 2015, the accused was arrested and brought before him for questioning in connection with the text messages he sent to two protocol officers. He remarked, “I was instructed by my immediate boss, Lamin Ceesay, to obtain a cautionary statement from him. He was brought before me and I read the cautionary warnings to him in the presence of an independent witness. He recorded his own statement and after which I asked him to read it over again to see whether he wants to confirm anything. He confirmed, signed and an independent witness also signed.” The NIA operative further told the court that on the 27th July, he was again instructed by his boss to record the voluntary statement of the accused. He said he took the particulars, wrote down the charge and read it out to the accused. He said he read out the cautionary warning to the accused in the presence of an independent witness. “I told the accused to write a statement to respond to the charge and he recorded that he did not agree to the charge. Thereafter, I told him to sign and an independent witness also signed,” said Mr.Bojang. At this juncture, the DPP applied to tender the cautionary and voluntary statements as exhibits. However, the defence counsel did not object to the cautionary statement but objected to the tendering of the voluntary statement, arguing that it is not an original material and as such is against the law for it to be tendered as an exhibit. This objection prompted the DPP to withdraw the voluntary statement. However, the cautionary statement was admitted by the court as an exhibit. The witness was asked by the DPP that apart from obtaining statements from the accused what else he had done. PW1 responded that witnesses were called and their statements were taken. Defence Lawyer Gaye Coker interjected and asked the witness whether he was the one who took the statements from the witnesses. The witness responded in the negative. Counsel further asked him to tell the court only what he did because that is the question asked. Under cross examination, by lawyer Gaye Coker asked the witness “Apart from obtaining the statements, you personally did nothing in this case?” “Yes,” replied the witness. “Is it your oral evidence that the accused did not agree to your charge,” asked lawyer Gaye Coker. “Yes”, responded the witness. At this juncture, the defence counsel told the court that this was all she had for the cross-examination of the witness. The DPP applied for an adjournment for him to call his next witness. However, the defence counsel said she is not objecting to the adjournment but that they have a pending application before the court which is a repeat of their application for bail. “Me lord, I have just been served with  an affidavit of opposition, even though the DPP was served since Monday, so subject to that,  I urged the court to stand down the case for me to reply to it, submitted the defence counsel. However, the presiding judge said he has already scheduled other cases and the matter was subsequently adjourned till Monday, 7th September, 2015 at 11 am for both the hearing of the bail application and continuation of hearing.]]>