Monday, March 20, 2023

Yankuba Touray Says Fatoumata Jahumpa did not Intervene on his Behalf


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By Yankuba Jallow & Mariama Marong

Counsel Kimbeng T. Tah for the Attorney General has on Monday, 22nd March 2021 continued with his cross-examination of Yankuba Touray, an erstwhile member of the defunct military council that ruled the Gambia between 1994 and 1996.

Touray was the minister responsible for Local Government and Lands. He had also handled some other ministerial portfolios when they resigned from the army and became civilian politicians who later founded a political party and established their Government through the ballot box.

The former military captain is charged with the murder of ex-minister of finance Ousman Koro Ceesay. He denied culpability. The prosecution called nine witnesses who all testified in the case including one Alagie Kanyi. Kanyi testified that he was present at the alleged crime scene at Touray’s residence.

Below are the questions and answers between Lawyer Tah and Yankuba Touray in verbatim.

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K. Tah: You previously stated that there was no personal relationship with Kanyi. I put it to you that the only reason you called Kanyi was to convince him not to testify to the TRRC about the whereabouts of Koro Ceesay.

Yankuba Touray: No, because during the trial before Justice Amina Saho-Ceesay, [Alagie] Kanyi said I did not tell him or convince him not to testify before the TRRC.

K. Tah: If your intention in calling Kanyi was not to convince him,I am putting it to you that you wouldn’t have sought the intervention of Fatou Jahumpa Ceesay.

Yankuba Touray: Fatou Jahumpa did not intervene.

K. Tah: You further admitted to this Banjul High Court that from the time Ensa Mandy left as your orderly, you did not speak to him until you called him sometim in 2019. I am putting it to you that the only reason you called Ensa Mendy was to interfere with his potential testimony on the murder of Koro Ceesay.

Yankuba Touray: No. When I called Ensa Mendy, he was not identified as a witness to the TRRC and I did not discuss anything relating to the murder of Koro Ceesay with Ensa Mendy, Alagie Kanyi or any of my orderlies. Our discussions were just based on the November 11 abortive coup.

K. Tah: Mr Touray, you acknowledged you spoke to investigators at the TRRC about the November 11 coup. Did you at any point during those interviews change your story as to what happened on November 11.

Yankuba Touray: No. I only changed the chronology of events.

K. Tah: You previously acknowledged that you have a cordial relationship with your subordinates including Ensa Mendy and Captain Amat Jangum.

Yankuba Touray: Yes, I had cordial relationship with subordinates who served under me and Jangum was not one of them.

K. Tah: Mr Touray, are you aware of any reason why Ensa Mendy will lie against you?

Yankuba Touray: No.

K. Tah: Are you aware of any reason why Alagie Kanyi, at a risk of implicating himself in the murder of Koro Ceesay, will lie against you?

Yankuba Touray: No.

K. Tah: Mr Touray, you have further told this coirt that you drove back to State House in the night in which the President travelled in the Presidential Convoy. Are witnesses who can attest to that fact alive today?

Yankuba Touray: Yes.

K. Tah: Can you kindly state their names to the court?

Yankuba Touray: Pa Malang – the President’s driver and Lang Tombong- the then State Guard commander.

K. Tah: Have any of these individuals been invited to offer testimony?

Yankuba Touray: No.

K. Tah: Mr Touray, you were a member of the AFPRC Council when Mr Koro Ceesay was murdered, correct?

Yankuba Touray: Yes.

K. Tah: Did the Council launch an investigation into the murder?

Yankuba Touray: I cannot know.

K. Tah: Let me remind you Mr Touray that you have previously spoke to the TRRC when you said a Coroner’s Inquest was requested by the Council.

Yankuba Touray: Yes, but I said the Coroner’s Inquest was requested by cabinet, not Council.

K. Tah: Did cabinet request an investigation giving that this was murder of one of its members?

Yankuba Touray: I can’t remember.

K. Tah: Mr Touray, can you remember the first foreign trip of the then Chairman?

Yankuba Touray: Yes.

K. Tah: Where was it?

Yankuba Touray: Ethiopia.

K. Tah: Is it the same visit as the one in this instant case?

Yankuba Touray: Yes.

K. Tah: Can you also recall the day you took office as a Council member?

Yankuba Jallow: Yes.

K. Tah: Can you say that was a very important day in your life?

Yankuba Touray: Yes, it was important.

K. Tah: Mr Touray, you were present when your wife and her sister testified in court?

Yankuba Touray: Yes.

K. Tah: You will further agree with me that your presence at the State House on the night in question is the most crucial aspect or element of your Defence.

Yankuba Touray: I don’t know.

K. Tah: Mr Touray why did you choose not to testify first in Defence?

Lawyer Abdoulie Sisoho for Yankuba Touray objected to the question saying it was inappropriate. I choose who to call to testify since I am the lawyer conducting my case. The question is irrelevant. He should ask relevant questions.

Justice Ebrima Jaiteh allowed the question saying it is not prejudicial to the accused person to answer the question.

Yankuba Touray: I did not choose not to testify first because I was not called upon to do so.

K. Tah: At the time of the alleged murder, did you hear any rumour of the Council members’ involvement in the alleged murder including yourself?

Yankuba Touray: Yes.

K. Tah: Did you ever come out publicly to discrete this serious rumour?

Yankuba Touray: The Office of the Chairman did.

K. Tah: Between the alleged statement release by the Office of the then Chairman and the launch of the TRRC, will I be correct  in saying this rumour subsisted and in fact, your personal involvement and that of your residence was key part of the rumour?

Yankuba Touray: No. I cannot remember people mentioning my residence. But the TRRC hearing, I heard a TRRC witness saying it happened at my residence and my personal involvement which was said by Alagie Kanyi.

K. Tah: Did you ever made any public statements?

Yankuba Touray: No, because none of the rumours were directed to me personally.

K. Tah: As a professional soldier and a former officer, can you help us understand the concept of change of shift in military operations?

Yankuba Touray: When a shift completes its duties, another shift comes and take over from them. The two commanders of both shifts will sign the duty book and all arms, ammunition and the men under the commander [of the outgoing shift are accounted for. The new shift starts duties

K. Tah: Does this happen at all levels?

Yankuba Touray: It is a standard operating procedure.

The case was adjourned to Tuesday, 23rd March 2021 at 1 pm for the continuation of the cross-examination.

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