Defence Cross-Examines NIA Operative In Taranga FM Manager’s Trial

By RoheyJadama

Barrister Combeh Gaye-Coker, defence counsel for Mr. Abdoulie Ceesay, the Managing Director of Taranga FM Radio, cross-Alhaji Abdoulie Ceesay, Manager Teranga FMexamined a National Intelligence Agency (NIA) operative yesterday, 7th December, 2015.

When the case was called before Justice Simeon Ateh Abi, H.S Barkun, the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), announced his representation for the State, while Lawyer Combeh Gaye-Coker appeared for the accused person.

Mr. Lamin Ceesay, the 3rd prosecution witness (PW3), responding to questions from the defence counsel, told the court that he worked at the NIA as an investigator and that he previously worked as a police officer under the criminal investigation department (CID) for 20 years.

“Therefore, is it correct to say that the only area you worked for is criminal investigations?” quizzed Lawyer Gaye-Coker. The witness responded in the positive.

“Is it correct to say that you have no background in Information Technology (IT)?” enquired lawyer Gaye-Coker. “I know how to operate a computer,” answered the witness.

“What professional qualifications do you have in IT?” “I don’t have any professional qualification in IT but I can operate it.”

“At the NIA do you have an IT Department?” “I don’t know about that.”

“Have a look at exhibits B2 and B2A. You told the court that you printed both exhibits?” “Yes.”

“Where was exhibit B2 printed from?” “the phones of the two ladies.”

“What about exhibit B2A?” “This one is from Zainab Koneh’s phone.”

When the witness was asked about the phones of Fatou Drammeh and Zainab Koneh, the witness told the court that he believes it is in the custody of the court. He further told the court that they only printed the messages from the phones and returned them to the duo.

Asked how he printed exhibits B2 and B2A, the witness adduced that both phones are android and their cables were plugged in the computer, downloaded and printed out.

When the witness was asked to explain in detail the procedures he used to download and print exhibits B2 and B2A, the NIA operative maintained his earlier answer.

“You will agree with me that both exhibits are contained in a special application called Whatsapp?” quizzed lawyer Gaye-Coker. The witness responded in the positive.

“I’m putting it to you that technologically it is impossible to simply put the cable on the computer, download and print it out?” “That’s your opinion,” answered the witness.

“You will agree with me that apart from the messages contained in exhibits B2 and B2A, there were other messages exchanged by the accused and the two ladies via Whatsapp?” quizzed the defence counsel. The witness responded in the positive.

“Why was it not downloaded and printed as part of your investigations?” enquired lawyer Gaye-Coker. The witness maintained that he only saw exhibits B2 and B2A.

“PW2 admitted before this court and in her statement at NIA that she used to chat with the accused person via Whatsapp in two accounts?” asked the defence lawyer. “That’s her own statement,” replied the witness.

“I put it to you that you are not a witness of truth?” said Lawyer Gaye-Coker. “I am a very truthful person and I swear an oath,” responded the witness.

“Is it correct that Fatou Drammeh (PW2) opened two Whatsapp accounts for the accused person where messages were exchanged between them?” asked Barrister Gaye-Coker.“It is possible but as far as I am concerned, I saw only these two exhibits,” responded the NIA operative.

“As an investigative Officer, did you verify the fact that these pictures came from Facebook from Fatou Camara’s wall as stated by the accused in his statement?” “I verified it but I don’t know whether the source is Fatou Camara.”

“Ms. Camara posted the said pictures in her Facebook wall, you said you verified it, I’m putting it to you that she has over 28 thousand followers?” “The investigator does not care whether she has million followers, all we’re concerned about was that the pictures were sent to Zainab and she felt threatened.”

“Mr. Ceesay, that information that you admitted, that you verified, was public knowledge at the time of your verification.” “I don’t know.”

At this juncture the case was adjourned to Tuesday, 8th December, 2015 at 12noon for continuation of cross-examination.

Meanwhile, the case could not proceed yesterday, Tuesday, 8 December, as the trial judge was reported to be attending a workshop, according to judicial sources.

Lamin Ceesay, an NIA investigator and third prosecution witness (PW1),is expected to continue with his cross examination by the defence.

The Taranga FM managing director is facing five counts, including sedition and false news publication charges, which he denied. He has been remanded at Mile2 prison for over five months after being denied bail on several occasions at both the magistrate and high courts.