By Halimatou Ceesay
Prosecution witness 6th in the murder trial of UDP Solo Sandeng that involved former National Intelligence Agency (NIA) has today December 18, testified before Justice Kumba Sillah of the High Court in Banjul.
In his testimony, Domingo Mengba Assistant Superintendent Police from Churchill’s town attached to Major Crime Unit at the police Headquarters in Banjul, told the court that on the 14th April 2016, whilst on active duty at the police headquarters in Banjul, he was instructed by the Crime Management Coordinatior Baboucarr S. Sarr to form a panel to obtain statements from UPD members. The members he said were Assistant Superintendent Sarjo Bah, Sergeant Alagie Manneh, Corporal Fatoumata Bah, 1st class Constable Dodou Joof, Constable Lamin Kah and himself.
During cross examination with counsel Mene for the 1st accused, Mengba said he was at the NIA on official duty not personal and confirmed giving evidence during the prosecution of a particular group of UDP protesters. When asked by counsel Mene the outcome of the case. Mengba said the protesters were convicted, however he deny been responsible for their conviction.
He agrees with counsel Mene that the NIA Headquarters in Banjul is a Government property and that he went there on official duty. He however said that he cannot speak for the NIA to say that they are equally there on official duty. He added that he know NIA is a sister security service just like the police but that their mode of operations are different. Further testifying PW 6 added that the NIA agents are state agents and agrees that they do have joint investigations. He said he was surprised when he was asked to go, when his mission was to obtained statements.
“We were asked to go the NIA in Banjul to obtain statements from the UDP members. Upon our arrival there, between 4pm onwards we were escorted to the conference hall. Few minutes while we were inside the hall, background checking and screening started. I was called by the former Deputy Director Louis Gomez that we should go back to the Police Headquarters and whenever we are needed we will be informed”, pw6 stated.
Further testifying, he said “one of the NIA officers came inside the hall and asked for the head of the panel. The said NIA officer led me to where I met Louis outside an office. I then went back to the Police Headquarters with my panel.”
If you see him again will you be able to identify Louis Gomez? Counsel Gaye asked. “No,” the witness replied.
“How do you know it was Louis Gomez?” Counsel Gaye asked.
“When we arrived at first, Louis Gomez introduced himself to us as the Deputy Director General. I did not know him before that day and since then I’ve never seen him,” the witness said.
Where you called back? Asked Counsel Gaye.
“We were never called back. We did not obtain any statement from anybody. It was only the NIA officers who were doing the background check and screening. They were filling forms and asking questions. The first person they brought for the screening was the only one we saw during our few minutes stay. Apart from my team I cannot remember anyone’s name”, he said.
Senior Counsel A.A.B Gaye, R.Y Mendy, Y. Senghore, and C. Gaye appeared for the state. The defendants were represented by C.E Mene, E.E Chima, E.A Gomez, D. Dago, I. Jallow, A.Y Hammah and S. Kennedy.
It could be recalled that Yankuba Badjie, former Director of NIA, Louis Gomez, former Deputy Director of NIA, Saikou Omar Jeng, former Director of Operations NIA, Haruna Susso, Yusupha Jammeh, Tamba Masireh, Lamin Darboe and Baboucarr Sallah, and Lamin Lang Sanyang a doctor were accused persons in the murder trial of Solo Sandeng.
The case adjourned to Tuesday 19th December, 2017 for the counsel of 6th accused U. Achigue who was absent in court today to cross examined both PW5 and PW6.