Saturday, November 27, 2010

Lt. General Tamba ‘not related’ to Ebrima Marreh

• Posted by Modou S. Joof on May 31, 2010 at 11:01pm
• View Modou S. Joof's blog

Says Rui’s Allegation is total Fabrication

                                                Erstwhile Army Chief, Lt. General Tamba 

Banjul, The Gambia (TNBES) The former Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Lt. General Lang Tombong Tamba has told the Court that he is not related to Ebrima Marreh (PW1) in his continuation of testimony.

Tamba said after giving money to Ebrima for his tuition fees, Marreh returned to see him on another day at his residence in Kololi, but he (Tamba) did not close from work at the time and soldiers on guard never let into the compound.

He explains that when his wife closes from work, she asked the soldiers to send Marreh away. He also told the Court that one day Ebrima Marreh went to his wife’s mini market the person working there that Lang Tombong is his uncle and that during the visit, Ebrima Marreh stole a cheque amounting to D28, 000.00
and withdrew the money from Access Bank, along Kairaba Avenue.

                                               A Court Room of the High Court in Banjul

He added that Ebrima Marreh also stole some clothes belong to employees at the said mini market, having get use to them already. He said after all this, Ebrima was apprehended at Kembujeng Village, Western Region and was brought to him (TAMBA) at his resident at Bijilo where he ordered for him to be taken to Fajara Army barrack for further investigation by the personnel of the National Guard.

Tamba told the Court that after interrogation of Ebrima Marreh, who is known to Tamba as Ebrima Sanyang (PW1) by the Chief of the National Guard, he confirms to them he stole the said cheque (D28, 000.00).

He further told the Court that the Chief of National Guard told him that Ebrima Sanyang has accepted stealing the cheque of D28, 000.00 belonging to his wife.

He stressed that since then he never saw Ebrima Sanyang until the day he (Tamba) was arrested and taken to National Intelligence Agency (NIA) Headquarters.

Tamba informed the Court that he have 24 hours of guard in both of his residents, four (4) soldiers for each resident, adding that they are responsible for his personal and family security or protection. He said anybody who came to see him will be announce to him before the person will be let in and at the end of the visit the person will be escorted out of the house.

According to Lang it is impossible for anybody to enter the house without been noticed by the securities. The first Accused Tamba stated that Ebrima Sanyang never visited him in his Bijilo resident except the day he was arrested in Kembujeng by his former driver Corporal Beyai and later referred to Fajara Barrack.

He pointed out that when Ebrima Sanyang paid him a visit for the first time, he never entered in his house, and he only stayed at the gate. Tamba said all the descriptions of his houses made by Ebrima Sanyang are not true and that he is not related to him as Ebrima is a Mandinka and he is a Jola.

Ex CDS said that he never sent Ebrima Sanyang to Thies in Senegal and neither receive calls from him nor make calls to him at the said Senegalese town as he did not know his number. Lang Tombong told the Court that he do make calls to Guinea Bissau in 2009 to one Mr. Jarju an employee at the Gambia High Commission in Bissau at the time when former CDS of Guinea Bissau was murdered as well as the killing of former President of Bissau.

He said he made many calls and receive many calls from Mr. Jarju in order to update his boss (President Jammeh) about the security situation in Guinea Bissau. He also said in the same year he made calls to his sister and brother. He said on the 23rd November 2009, he was escorted by the member of the investigating team of the alleged coup plot to conduct a search to his residence at Kololi and Bijilo.

He further said that on their arrival at Kololi, the team found two pairs of camouflage uniform, some green inner shirts, camouflage inner shirts, one pair of captain ban, one pair of major rank, one pair of Lt. Col. Rank, and one small box of SBP hunting cartridges in a suitcase that was packed in one of his rooms.

He said he cannot remember the other items as inventory was not taken at the time they were found in his resident. He told the Court that, those items were given to him when he was a Commander of State Guard in 2004, adding that when he took over the CDS post with the approval of the President, new uniforms were design for GAF and GNG an as a result he did not use those uniforms found in his house as they were no more part of the new military dress.

He said he proceeded with the team to his Bijilo resident were they conducted another search and the team found a sealed carton box which the team ask him the content of the said carton and he told them that he did not know.

He said he further told them that the carton was brought by his former military assistant Lt. Col. Alagie Sanneh containing items that were left in his former office and that he should take the items belonging to him and return the ones which belong to the office. He added that he further inform the team that he did not even open the said carton as that was the very day he was arrested and taken to the NIA quarters and thereby cannot know what the content of the carton was.

According him, the investigating team requested to open the said carton which he accepted. He said the carton was opened and they discover some files, books belonging to the arm forces and also some of his personal belonging. He said items belonging to the armed force were taken and ones he owned were returned to him.

Tamba told the court that he and Bo Badjie never paid Rui Jabbi Gassama 30,000 Euros and an extra 500 Euros as alleged by him (Rui Jabbi Gassama), saying he never set his eyes on him. He further told the court that the only time he saw Rui Jabbi Gassama was when he was confronted with him at the NIA headquarter after his arrest on the 20th November 2009.

“All what was said by Rui Jabbi Gassama before this court is a total fabrication of lies and I have never called him on phone, my phone print out can attest to that,” Tamba told the court. Ex-CDS said that is a lie that he told Rui Jabbi Gassama that he is going to buy him a compound, noting that he will not buy a compound to someone he did not know.

Tamba said, it is not true that he called Kukoi Samba Sanyang as alleged by Rui Jabbi Gassama and that he did not know Kukoi’s phone number and his phone calls print-outs are clear about that.

Lang Tombong told the Court that on 10th February 2009 he and Modou Gaye (5th accused) were taken away from their detention center to the office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Richard N. Chenge who told him that he has evidence against him that he is involved in an alleged coup plot and has brought a container of arms from Guinea Bissau.

He said the DPP gave him a blank NIA witness form and told him that if he accepted the allegations in written words then he would be released immediately and returned home. He stated that he told the DPP that he is always loyal to the President and Commander in Chief of the armed forces and will never be involved in any coup plot. He said he referred the DPP that to ask other about his loyalty to the president and his government.

He said, he further told the DPP that the president even started releasing some of the accused persons (Omar Bun Mbye, Lie Joof and Rambo). Lang Tombong said that the DPP told him that he has advised the president through the Minister of Justice that there is a case and that he can be prostituted.

He added that, DPP further told him that based on his advice to the president, those people were re-arrested. He told the court that DPP said to him that, if he did not accept his involvement in the alleged coup plot, he will be prosecuted and taken before a firing squad. Tamba said he told the DPP that, if he is involved
in the alleged coup plot he would asked the investigating panel to take him to the president to apologies to him.

He said he further told the DPP that he rather remain in Mile 2 in detention than to tell lies about something he did not know about. Lang said he told the DPP in his office that he was CDS for three (3) years six months and has all the Sangas rather than to send a criminal and liar like Ebrima Marreh (PW1) to do his missions for him.

He added that as CDS he knows the entire GAF, Navy, Army and National Guards as all were under his command. Lang said he told the DPP that if he wanted to stage a coup against the man he always called my brother he would have used the men and soldier under his command rather than paying to train three hundred (300) mercenaries in a foreign land.

“As CDS at that time I have all the armory of the GAF under my command, so I would used the men and soldiers of the armed forces and arms and ammunitions and carryout the coup rather than to buy arms and ammunitions from a foreign land for a coup,” Lang said. He said the allegation against him and seven others is a mere fabrication and lies by those individuals who wanted to distance and separate him from the president which will never change until the day he will go into the grave. “I leave everything in the hands of God, who knows everything either lies or truth, right or wrong,” he stressed.

Under Cross examination by Pap Cheyassin Secka, counsel for second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and the seventh accused persons. Lang Tombong told the court that during his confrontation with PW1 Ebrima Marreh, the 7th accused (Lie Joof) was not present. Under the same cross-examination by Awa Sisay Sabally, Tamba said, he and 8th accused person (Rambo) have launch together with other people and they played  together will many other people.

During his cross-examination by the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Chenge, Lang told the court that, the DPP told him that if he accept been involve in the said coup and write it in words, he will be release and will go straight home but he did not tell him to be used as witness.

DPP put it to him that he was removed because he miss used huge amount of money from GAF. In his response, Lang Tombong said that is not true. DPP said to him that the president asked him on TV that where is the money that was given to him to refurbish the barrack and the Ex CDS cannot answer, but Tamba denied that.

He told the court that the president was talking about a contract awarded to a Senegalese company twelve (12) years ago when he was a Captain so it is all false and not true.

Tamba said he was dikitted by GAF following his request and constant telephone calls he made. He said he told the dikitting team that the ceremonial uniforms and the diplomatic passport will remain on him and was accepted by the team after their consultation with their superior. Some of the other items he said he did not remember, but the DPP remarked: “You did not remember because you wanted to use the said items in a coup plot.”

However, Tamba maintained that it is not true. DPP asked; did you know as CDS that it is not allowed for people who are not soldiers to wear camouflage and Tamba said Yes, I know.

Lang Tombong also said he was not in possession of 100 grams of ammunition and that he did not signed any inventory to indicate that 100 grams of ammunition was found in his possession. He said he is not aware of eleven people going to Farafenni barrack, unarmed and disarmed Sangas and took over the Armory, what he knows is that people attack Farafenni barrack, the purpose of the attack he did not know as he was not a CDS at that time.

You said you stop the 2006 coup attempt? DPP Asked. Yes together with some loyal soldiers, answered Lang Tombong. He said he did not know how many people were involved in that failed coup plot though.

You planned that said coup in 2006 with your former CDS by the time you were deputy CDS, said DPP. “That is not true, every Gambian knows the effort that I made to stop that coup,” Lang said.

DPP put it to him that it was when Ndure Cham told you that you cannot be a Head of State that was the time you turned around to report him? In his respond Lang said that is not true and on the day of that particular coup, Ndure Cham left the country while I was in the country and the president was also away, but my ambition was to fail the said coup.

Case has been adjourned till 31st May, 2010 for continuation of cross-examination

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