Friday, December 10, 2010

Treason Trial: Major BO Badjie Gives His Accounts to the Court

June 8th, 2010 

After Omar Bun Mbye’s testimony, Major Lamin Bo Badjie (3rd accused) also opened his testimony and he was subsequently cross-examined on Friday 4th June 2010 at the High Court in Banjul before Justice Emanuel A. Amadi.
He said he was enlisted into the Gambia Armed Forces on 7th January 1987 and was dismiss on 9th October 2009 with the rank of major. He said that apart from the military he also served as Director General of National Intelligent Agency (NIA) for almost one year and was later redeployed back to the military.
Like Bun Mbye, Bo Badjie also stated that on 21st November 2009 at 0100GMT while a sleep, he heard a knock on his door and asked who the person was, the person responded that if you want to know open the door.

Lamin Bo Badjie said he told the person to wait for him to put on his dress but they refuse and forcefully open the door and he rush to parlour and put on the light and show security officers. He said when he asked them of their reason for coming to his house at that time of the night. The security officers told him that they came to arrest him, but he pleaded with them to speak to his wife but the said officers refused and took him to Mile 2, Gambia’s Central Prison where he was detained till 26th November, 2009 when he was taken to the NIA headquarters to appear before a panel comprising of the Director General of NIA and others.
He told the court that the panel asked him about the 21st March 2006 abortive coup, how he came to know about the said coup and what his role was. He said he told them that he received information from one of his operative a military officer.
The third accused told the court that the panel told him to reveal the name of that person but he refuses and the panel insisted that he most reveal the name but he still insist that unless he have the Director General of NIA and two others in camera he would not reveal the name of the person for the safety of the person.
He said the panel continues to insist that he most reveal the name but he remained firm of his stance. However, he said the person in question was part of the panel and he stood and told the panel that he was the one who informed him.
According to BO Badjie the said operative further told the panel that he was called by the Former CDS Ndure Cham, who informed him about a planned coup. The Operative in question said he saw the plan as a threat to the security of The Gambia and could not keep it and he then informed Lamin Bo Badjie (3rd accused).
BO Badjie said during the time, he was the director of intelligence and security of the Gambia Armed Forces with the rank of Second Lieutenant. He told the court that he was asked to write a statement by the panel. However, he noted that the statement was not tendered before the court.
According to him, on 24th November 2009 he was again picked up from Mile 2 together with the first accused General Tamba and taken to the NIA headquarters in Banjul, where they faced the panel at the conference room of the NIA.
He noted that at the said room, two of the NIA officers were seated, namely Sukuta Jammeh and Louis Gomez director of operation NIA. He told the court that the panel then told them that they are going to be paraded for identification purpose, adding that the said parade comprises of personnel of NIA from various units including security, mechanics and drivers. He said he was then called to join the parade but when he look at himself and realised that his clothes were not ok, he requested for a change of clothes and that was granted. After joining the parade, he saw two officers escorting a gentleman unknown to him. The said gentleman was asked by Sukuta Jammeh (PW15) to identify the former Director General of NIA Lamin BO Badjie. He said the unknown man raise his hand and place it on his shoulder and said he is the man and photos were quickly taken.
He (Bo Badjie) was taken back to Mile 2 prison. He also said on 31st December 2009 he was picked again together with 1st accused (Langtombong) from the Mile 2 and taken to the NIA Office in Banjul to the conference room and found the said panel sitting with the unknown man and was asked whether he knew the unknown man and told them that he recognized him as the one who identified him during the parade.
He said, at that point the unknown man was asked how did he came to know him and he (the unknown man) said he visited him in his house with Langtombong Tamba and they paid him to recruit mercenaries in Guinea Bissau for the purpose of a coup plot. He stated that the unknown man was later asked the location of his house (Bo Badjie’s) but he was unable to give a correct description of the house.
He was also asked the general location of his compound but cannot still give the correct description. He said the unknown man was then asked to name the people he found at BO’s house at the time of his visit, and the unknown man replied that he can only recognized BO Badjie and Langtombong Tamba because their was a light deemed in front of him by the time he was entering the house so he cannot recognized anybody apart from the two.
He further told the court that he later come to know the unknown man as Rui Jabbi Gassama, saying he had never saw or spoke to him in his life and the day of the identification being the first day he saw him. He adduced that Rui Jabbi (PW2) said that he recognizes him from a Daily Observer publication dated 21st October 2009 in Bissau on 17th December 2009.
Third accused told the court that he then told the panel that since he was identified in Guinea Bissau from the said newspaper so he did not see any reason why the identification parade is necessary. He further adduced that on the 31st of December 2009 at NIA, the Director General of NIA asked him whether he knew the resident of the first accused person (Langtombong Tamba) or visited him at anytime.
And he told the DG of NIA that he had never visited him or even knows his house. He said PW2’s allegation that Langtombong called Kukoi and spoke to him in his presence and later give the phone to him (BO Badjie) to spoke to Kukoi is not true and he never knew Kukoi or Spoke to him.
He added that he was asked about Ngorr Secka as PW2 mentioned to the panel that he use to call Ngorr Secka while in Bissau and that Ngorr Secka worked under him. BO Badjie said he told the panel that it is not true that Ngorr Secka worked under him or even call him while he was in Bissau. He told the court that on the 27th November 2009, he made a statement and that same statement was tendered before the court and he still stood by it. He said he was never confronted with anybody about the said statement. Lamin BO Badjie stated he first saw PW1 (Ebrima Marreh) the day he appeared before the court but during all his appearance before the panel they never told him anything about PW1. According to him he was on telephone contact with Langtombong while in active service but after his dismissal he never spoke to him or even visited him. He said that while he was on active service he (BO Badjie) was posted as state guard battalion and worked under the first accused for Seven (7) years as Tamba was his Commander. He stated that while he was working under him, he was later sent on a mission and after his return he was posted to the Defence headquarters as Director of Intelligence and Security and Tamba was the deputy CDS at that time.
After the 2006 foiled coup, he (Langtombong) was appointed as CDS. He said while Langtombong was CDS he worked under him as Director of Intelligence and security and was later appointed as Director General of NIA from 2008 to 2009. He was again redeployed back to army. He said his relationship with Langtombong was based only base on the nature of their work. He said he had a work relationship with the second accused Omar Bun Mbye also mostly on telephone but that ceased since he was dismissed from the Army, adding that he never saw him until the day he was arrested and taken to the Mile 2 Central Prison. BO Badjie the fourth accused Kawsu Camara was in the same Camp with him from 1995 to 2003 when he was sent on a mission and after his return in 2005 he was moved to the defence headquarters. He said since then he don’t have any contact with him. He said for the 5th accused he only have contact with him when the IGP is out of the country but mostly on telephone contacts on directives adding that after his dismissal he never saw or spoken to him until the day he was arrested. He adduced that on the 8th February 2010 he was picked up from Mile 2 central prison and taken to the NIA headquarter, later escorted to the DPP’s office.
He said DPP Chenge told him that he saw all the files, is very serious but he can helped him but the only way he can help is if he (Bo Badjie) can write another statement admitting that he is involved in a coup plot.
According to him, he told DPP that if that is the only way he can help him then let DPP forget about it and told him that he is a Muslim and he have faith in God who know the truth and that one day will reveal the truth.
He said the DPP told him that you know there is a ship arrested with arms and ammunitions and he Bo Badjie replied to him that he is sorry am not interested in that ship because I did not know anything about the said ship. DPP told him that since you did not want me to help you it is ok. BO Badjie revealed to the court that DPP is a close friend to him and had a daily telephone contact with him and also do visited him in his office from time to time.
Since his dismissal, he said he never spoke to him or saw him until the day he invited him in his office.
Answering questions under cross-examination by DPP Chenge, BO Badjie debunks the DPP’s claim the he offered him to be used as a witness if he admitted being involved in the said coup plot.
He submitted that he did not know Ebrima Marreh and Rui Jabbi Gassama so the reason why they come to lie against him is best known to them. He stated that he did not know the reason why he was dismissed together with Langtombong Tamba on the same day. DPP then put it to him that they were dismissed together because they conspired to over throw the Government of The Gambia but BO Badjie totally denied the allegation.
Lamin Bo Badjie said he never visited Guinea Bissau in his entire life as alleged by Rui Jabbi Gassama. The third accused stated that he was not in Bissau the time Rui was identifying him on the said news paper, but believe that the people who saw him the said news paper must have identified him to Rui Jabbi Gassama. He said as Director of NIA at that time, he never referred any file to the DPP and that he was not aware of any of his subordinate preparing files for the DPP.
At this point, the DPP put to him that he is not telling the truth, but BO maintained that he is telling the truth. DPP: “what do you do when the 2006 foiled coup was going on?” “I was among the loyal soldiers who foiled the coup,” BO answered.

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