Convicted of treason twice, Tamba remains loyal to President Jammeh
The erstwhile Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Lang Tombong Tamba and his compatriot, former Naval Chief Sarjo Fofana were in Court on May 23, 2011 for sentencing over charges of treason and related offences.
After being sentenced to 20 years imprisonment by Justice Joseph E. Ikpala of the Special Criminal Division of the High Court in Banjul, Tamba proclaimed that his “loyalty to President Jammeh will never change, even in hell”.
On Monday, the High Court found them guilty on all four counts and handed them a concurrent prison sentence of 20 years.
Nonetheless, Tamba said: “I do not want anyone to cry for me. My consent is clear and my loyalty to the president of the republic will never change. If my loyalty to the president is why they are doing it, let them do it but that will not change my loyalty.”
He added that if he were to die today, he will die being loyalty to the Gambian President Yahya Jammeh and will continue to pray for the president and Gambia as he claimed to have been doing all the time.
Tamba has always maintained his innocence and has been telling the Court during his defence how he toiled to abort the March 26, 2006 coup masterminded by runaway erstwhile CDS Colonel Ndure Cham.
“I know what I did to foil this coup; it is very painful to see this people take the law into their own hands, people need to look into the judicial system of the Gambia, this state counsels just come here to obliterate all our evidences,” he argued before being whisked away to the State’s Maximum Security Wing, the Mile 2 Central Prison in Banjul.
Tamba and seven others, including top security chiefs, two business tycoons and a diplomat were found guilty by the High Court of plotting a coup against president Jammeh in 2009. They were all sentenced to death on July 15, 2010.
Want to die
“I want to die, I want to die,” a young boy who was heard calling Sarjo Fofana, the 2nd accused “father”, yelled.
The boy, whose name and address could not be confirmed, was crying and running after the security vehicle which was carrying the convicts to Mile 2. The boy was later whisked away by a security vehicle with the number S76 towards down town Banjul.
As usual, the scene at the High Court was engulfed by a melancholic atmosphere of weeping relatives. “Leave me! Let me cry! Let me cry! A lady screamed in “Mandinka”, a local language, while others fainted.
|Fofana (L) and Tamba (R)|
High Court convicts Tamba and Fofana on treason charges
The erstwhile Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Lang Tombong Tamba and former Naval Chief Sarjo Fofana were on Monday found guilty of treason charges brought against them by the State and subsequently handed a prison sentence of 20 years.
Having reviewed the brief from the Prosecution and the defence, Justice Joseph Enwa Ikpala of the Special Criminal Division of the High Court in Banjul on May 23, 2011 convicted and sentenced Tamba and Fofana to 20 years imprisonment on Count 1; 20 years on Count 2; and sentence Lang Tombong Tamba to 10 years on Count 3 and 10 years on Count 4 respectively. All the sentences should run concurrently.
The duo were standing trial on Four Counts of Treason, including “conspiracy to commit felony”, “concealment of treason” and offences related to the March 21, 2006 aborted coup plot masterminded by Colonel Ndure Cham, former CDS of Gambia Armed Forces, GAF.
They have always denied any wrong doing.
On his judgment witnessed by a packed courtroom, Justice Ikpala said the accused persons have a right not to give evidence to contradict the prosecution’s evidence, as no person should be force to open his or her defence. When the court said that the prosecution had established prima facie case against the accused person, the accused should open their defence to contradict the prosecution evidence but they did not, which is their right.
He quoted the summaries of addresses filed by the Prosecution and the Defence Counsels, who put forward contradictory addresses (convict them, the prosecution said. Acquit and discharge them, the defence said).
Ikpala noted that conspiracy can only be committed by two or more people, the testimony of Modou Alieu Bah indicated that he informed the accused persons and in exhibit A (Tamba’s statement) he also admitted that they were informed by Modou Alieu Bah.
“That means the evidences collaborate,” Ikpala said.
“Exhibit C also gives an account of how he was invited in a vehicle by the 2nd accused Sarjo Fofana and discuses the plans of the said coup, the defence did not give any objection to this entire allegation and their submission did not translate into evidence.”
He said from Count 1-4 the prosecution has proven their case beyond all reasonable doubt as adduced by the prosecution witnesses, I believed the evidence of the prosecution that the accused persons had attempted to stage a coup to overthrow the democratically elected Government of The Gambia on March 21, 2006.
“For these reasons, I hereby hold that the accused persons are guilty as charged and the prosecution had proven their case beyond all reasonable doubt. Therefore, I hereby sentence the accused persons to 20 years imprisonment on Count 1; 20 years on Count 2; and sentence Lang Tombong Tamba to 10 years on Count 3 and 10 years on Count 4. All the sentences should run concurrently,” Ikpala said.
Before the verdict was announced, Tamba’s Counsel Sheriff M. Tambedou in his plea said the 1st accused is the first ever highest rank holder in the military and diligently served the country for 23 years.
He said Tamba was decorated by the President as a Member of Republic of The Gambia (MRG) because of the role he played in foiling the March 21, 2006 coup, which he is convicted of today.
Counsel Tambedou noted that Tamba is married with two wives and six children; he is taking care of the feeding and the other needs of some 16 children.
For his part, Counsel for the 2nd accused (Sarjo Fofana), Lamin K. Mboge describes Fofana as the finest gentleman who have no horn or teeth to bite, the evidence before the Court is the true picture of him as he did not take any part in the coup and made no step to foiled it.
Mboge reiterated: “The 2nd accused is the highest responsible gentleman with a wife and children, brothers and sisters and an extended family who are depending on him.”
He urged the judge to have the heart of forgiveness towards Fofana so that he will not spend all his live in the four corners of the prison. Source – The Voice