NIA Operative Testifies in Taranga FM Manager’s Trial

By RoheyJadama
Mr.Foday L. Bojang, an operative working at the special investigationAlhaji Abdoulie Ceesay, Manager Teranga FM
unit of the NIA, yesterday,  3rd September, testified as the first
prosecution witness (PW1) in the ‘Sedition and Publication of False
News’ case involving Mr.AlagieAbdoulieCeesay, the Manager of Taranga
FM radio.

He testified before Justice Mohammed Dan AzumiBalarabe of the Banjul High
Court.
The state was represented by HadiSaleh  Barkun, the Director of Public
Prosecutions(DPP),  while Lawyer Combeh Gaye-Coker announced her
representation for the accused person.
When the court interpreter attempted to give Mr.Bojang the Quran to
swear, the witness declined to swear on it but instead told the
court that he wants to affirm. This was allowed by the court.
PW1 told the court that he lives in New Yundum and works at the
special investigation Unit of the NIA and that he recognised the
accused person. He adduced that on the 20th of July 2015, the accused
was arrested and brought before him for questioning in connection with the text messages he sent to two protocol officers.
He remarked, “I was instructed by my immediate boss, Lamin Ceesay, to obtain a
cautionary statement from him. He was brought before me and I read the
cautionary warnings to him in the presence of an independent witness.
He recorded his own statement and after which I asked him to read it
over again to see whether he wants to confirm anything. He confirmed,
signed and an independent witness also signed.”

The NIA operative further told the court that on the 27th July, he was
again instructed by his boss to record the voluntary statement of the
accused. He said he took the particulars, wrote down the charge and
read it out to the accused. He said he read out the cautionary warning to
the accused in the presence of an independent witness. “I told the
accused to write a statement to respond to the charge and he recorded
that he did not agree to the charge. Thereafter, I told him to sign
and an independent witness also signed,” said Mr.Bojang.
At this juncture, the DPP applied to tender the cautionary and
voluntary statements as exhibits.
However, the defence counsel did not object to the cautionary
statement but objected to the tendering of the voluntary statement,
arguing that it is not an original material and as such is against the law for
it to be tendered as an exhibit.
This objection prompted the DPP to withdraw the voluntary statement.
However, the cautionary statement was admitted by the court as an
exhibit.
The witness was asked by the DPP that apart from obtaining statements
from the accused what else he had done. PW1 responded that witnesses
were called and their statements were taken.
Defence Lawyer Gaye Coker interjected and asked the witness whether he
was the one who took the statements from the witnesses. The witness
responded in the negative. Counsel further asked him to tell the court
only what he did because that is the question asked.
Under cross examination, by lawyer Gaye Coker asked the witness “Apart
from obtaining the statements, you personally did nothing in this
case?” “Yes,” replied the witness.
“Is it your oral evidence that the accused did not agree to your
charge,” asked lawyer Gaye Coker. “Yes”, responded the witness.
At this juncture, the defence counsel told the court that this was all
she had for the cross-examination of the witness.
The DPP applied for an adjournment for him to call his next witness.
However, the defence counsel said she is not objecting to the
adjournment but that they have a pending application before the court
which is a repeat of their application for bail. “Me lord, I have just
been served with  an affidavit of opposition, even though the DPP was
served since Monday, so subject to that,  I urged the court to stand
down the case for me to reply to it, submitted the defence counsel.
However, the presiding judge said he has already scheduled other cases
and the matter was subsequently adjourned till Monday, 7th September, 2015 at 11 am
for both the hearing of the bail application and continuation of
hearing.