Friday, December 10, 2010

Treason Trial: Bun Mbye Opens and Ends Testimony, Cross-examination

June 8th, 2010 

The Treason Trail involving Lt. General Langtombong Tamba and Co. is gradually moving closer to the end as second and third accused persons has ended their testimony and cross-examination on Friday 4th June 2010 at the High Court in Banjul before Justice Emmanuel Amadi.
In his testimony, Omar Bun Mbye (2nd accused) and also 2nd defence witness told the Court that he lives in Brusubi and his last employment was Military Officer and rank of Brigadier General. He told the court that his tenure as military officer ended on 9th October, 2009, recalling that he was enlisted into the military on 31st January, 1985.

Apart from military, he said he had never been employed anywhere. Bun Mbye adduced that he spent 24 years in military and believes that the reason for his enrolment into the army was due to his dedication to secure the lives and properties of people. As Brigadier General, he was the Director of Operation and Training and also acted as deputy in the absence of the deputy CDS on his one year absence at armed forces.
He stated that he had a working relationship with 1st, 3rd and 4th accused persons, while noting that the 1st accused (Langtombong) was his superior and their relationship was based on work only. He added that their working relationship was on a day to day routine and on military functions, mostly done on telecommunication.
According to him, his work relationship with the 3rd accused (BO Badjie) was also on the day to day activities on national duties and military functions, which was done mostly on mobile phone communication. For the 4th accused (Kawsu Camara), their work relation was only on national events.
He noted that at the early hours (0100GMT) of 21st November, 2009 as he was a sleep, he heard a knock on his compound gate and when he answered, he realize that it was NIA officers who told him that he is needed at the NIA Headquarters for questioning. He told the court that he then went with them but instead of taken him to the NIA Headquarters, he was taken straight to the Mile 2, Gambia’s Central Prison, where he was detained for two (2) weeks before being taken to the NIA headquarters for questioning.
He further told the court that after their arrival at the NIA headquarters, he was paraded before a panel of investigators consisting of NIA officers and military personnel but they did not mention anything to him as to what the said panel was. He told the crowed court that the first question they asked him was his close associate in the military and civilians and he answered that he have good working relationship with all the military personnel including the former CDS (Langtombong) and his close civilian friend is a civilian (Pa Babou Loum). He said, he was also asked whether he spoke to the EX-CDS (Tamba) and he told them that he has never seen or spoke to him since he (Lang Tombong) was dismissed from the Army. He stated that he only visited the 1st accused (Lang Tombong) once at his Kololi residence at the time of Koriteh prayer (Edul Fitr) together with Brigadier General Ousman Badjie and Brigadier General Ebrima Bah. He noted that, normally it is a tradition in the military to visit the CDS immediately after the Koriteh prayer (Muslim Feast), to pray for each other and the President as well. He told the court that he did not have any work relationship with the 5th accused Modou Gaye and had never receive or make any calls to him. “The last time I saw Modou Gaye (5th accused) was the last World Cup trophy show at the Independent Stadium, but I did not even spoke to him,” he said.
Bun Mbye also said he has no contact with the 6th accused (Ngorr Secka) not even on phone and was not asked anything about him before the panel. He further stated that he have no contact with the 7th accused (Abdoulie Joof) and the 8th accused (Rambo) as well, though the 8th accused do attend some military functions. Omar Bun Mbye told the packed court that in his third week at Mile 2 Central Prison he was brought again at the NIA headquarters, during his second visit at the said place they mention to him one Ebrima Sanyang and he said (Ebrima Sanyang) confirm that he did not know him or even seen him. He knew Ebrima Sanyang at the court as Ebrima Marreh.
He told the court that the other question they asked him was whether he attended the funeral of Langtombong (1st accused)’s late father and he told them that yes together with other Service Chiefs at Siffoe village in the Western Region. He said he was not confronted with any information that contradicts each other before the panel. According to him on 1st February 2010, after mid-day he and the 7th accused (Abdoulie Joof) were picked from Mile 2 Central Prison to the NIA headquarters at the Director of the NIA office and paraded in front of Senior NIA officials. The Director General of the NIA then apologies to them for the long detention at the Mile 2 and told them to take it with good faith. He told the court that the Director General NIA further told them that the President has approved their release and that the decision was not taken by him but the entire panel as they realized that they are clear and have nothing against them and after that they were released to go home.
He told the court that the following day (2nd February 2010) at 10 am while having breakfast, he received a call and he was asked to report at the NIA headquarters but he replied to the call that they’ve been just released and hope everything is all right and he was told him that is the Director who wanted to see him.
He said at that point, he rent a taxi and reported to the NIA headquarters and he was then directed to the officer of the operation at the NIA. He told the director of operations that he now stayed for so long and did not tell him anything and the director of operation told him that they are working under the directive of the Director General of NIA. Bun Mbye told the court that the director of operations told him that they are still on the investigation, but they cannot still found anything against them and did not know why the DPP requested them back.
He said the director of operation further told him that he will make a follow up to know why they were requested back and on the evening they were taken back to Mile 2 Prison. He stated that on 10th February, 2010. He (Omar Bun Mbye), 1st accused (Langtombong) and the 5th accused (Modou Gaye) were taken from the Mile 2 Prison to the office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Richard N. Chenge. He pointed out that that they enter into the DPP’s office one at a time. He told the court that when he entered the DPP office, he (DPP) told him that he was not happy of his release earlier while he was having the case file, but he has to advise the president through the ministry of Justice for their re-arrest. He said the DPP then produced an NIA statement form and said to him that if he admitted being part of the coup, he will be released immediately. He said the DPP also mentioned to him about a container of arms and ammunition from Guinea Bissau. He said, he told DPP that nobody had ever accused him of his involvement in any coup plot and even the NIA had released him because they have nothing against him. He further told the court that, he told DPP that he love and cherish the president and he is a very loyal citizen but the DPP told him that he did not know but he has a case against them and he will take it to court.
Omar Bun told said he made a statement in this case and the statement was tendered before the court and he still standby the said statement (exhibit P10).
Responding to questions under cross-examination by the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Richard N. Chenge, Omar Bun Mbye told the court that he was not told why he was arrested at the NIA headquarters. “You mean you were not told that somebody mention your name as you are involved in a coup plot at NIA?” DPP asked. “That is not true, nobody had ever told me,” Bun Mbye answered.
Bun Mbye said he did not work closely with the 1st accused (Langtombong), saying they just have a working relationship. He denied being a subordinate to the 1st accused (Langtombong). He told the court that he is just supportive to CDS and only loyal to the president and commander-in-chief of Armed Forces. He also noted that he knew nothing about the 2006 foiled coup plot. He also denied attending meetings at CDS Tamba’s house for the purpose of overthrowing the Government of The Gambia.
“The printout shows that you were calling the 1st accused (Langtombong) on your phone the day of the planed coup (Black Friday),” said DPP. “That is not true,” 2nd accused maintain. Mbye told the court that he had never seen or called the 1st accused person after his dismissal on 9th October, 2009.
DPP then said will you be surprise if I saw you the printout that you called the 1st accused after his dismissal from the Armed Forces? “I will be surprise because the printout show nothing about that unless you produce magic,” he stressed. DPP then put it to him that he is not telling the truth to the court but the DW2 insisted that he is telling the truth. He debunk allegations that he accompanied Langtombong to Guinea Bissau to extradite Kukoi Samba Sanyang (mastermind of the 1981 coup) to the Gambia.

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