Justice Minister welcomes brother’s withdrawal from NIA 9 case

By Kebba Jeffang

The attorney general and minister of Justice, Aboubacarr Tambadou, has welcomed the decision of his brother, Sheriff Tambadou, to recuse himself from the prosecution team of the NIA 9 case, amid his involvement in an audio recording scandal that went viral on social media, recently.

“I welcome the decision of my brother Sheriff to withdraw from the prosecution team in the NIA 9 case. It is the right thing to do under the circumstances. His withdrawal, therefore, will allow the prosecution team to focus on the more important task of establishing criminal accountability for the unfortunate death of Solo Sandeng,” the minister said.

He clarified that the selection of Sheriff Tambedou as co-prosecutor was the exclusive decision of the Special Prosecutor, Mr. Antouman Gaye. He said he has strictly limited all his communications on the case to direct contact with Mr. Gaye, exclusively.

He said Gaye’s appointment as Prosecutor came with much appreciation in his management of the case, including his selection of a prosecution team and a prosecutorial strategy of his choosing.

He said he is aware of the defence’s proposals to commence negotiations towards a plea bargain and he gave his approval in principle for this.

“I have come to the conclusion, in view of the entire circumstances of the meeting between Sheriff and the representative of the 1st Accused, and having listened to the audio recording, that the said meeting could reasonably be interpreted as creating the impression that my decision as Attorney General could be influenced by extraneous factors,” he said.

“I wish to state for the records, that all the decisions that I have taken since my appointment as Attorney General and Minister of Justice have been based purely on professionalism and in the best interest of the country without any undue influence from anyone, including family members,” the minister posited.

He further stated his personal commitment to ensure justice for all the victims of human rights violations and abuses of the past 22 years, ‘‘is matched only by the zeal and enthusiasm with which I embraced the call to return home and serve my country.’’

“I have demonstrated my commitment to justice in the Solo Sandeng case in particular by appointing a senior and very experienced criminal law attorney as Special Prosecutor, in the person of Mr Antouman Gaye and I continue to give him all the support necessary to enable him conduct an effective prosecution,” he said.

According to him, he has set himself the goal of restoring public confidence in the justice system and setting the highest standards of integrity in public office.

He described the moment as a difficult time for his family.

Earlier this week, there was an audio recording that went viral on social media, alleged to be a recorded conversation between Ndura Jawara, the wife of the former director general of National Intelligence Agency (NIA) Yankuba Badjie and lawyer Sheriff Tambadou, a prosecutor in the trial. Sheriff allegedly claimed in the audio that left to his brother, the current minister of Justice, the matter involving her husband wouldn’t proceed.