Human Rights

Coup Trial: Witness Concedes Having Worked For NIA And As Van Driver

Gambia National Army sergeant Karamo Jatta, a prosecution witness in the trial of the December 2022 foiled coup plot, has conceded having concurrently worked for the defunct National Intelligence Agency and as a commercial driver between 2013 and 2017.

The experienced military man admitted as such during the continuation of cross-examination today afternoon, after Defence Counsel L.S. Camara put it to him that he had been in the Gambian army for 16 years and not 20 as he had earlier testified.

Sergeant Jatta has been appearing before the court since last week to testify as a prosecution witness in the case involving military colleagues – Lance Corporal Sanna Fadera, Sergeant Gibril Darboe, Corporal Ebrima Sannoh and Corporal Omar Njie – and Sub-Inspector Fabakary Jawara of the Gambia Police Force.

The men are being tried for treason, concealment of treason and incitement to mutiny, as prosecutors alleged that they were planning to topple President Adama Barrow and his administration.

When the matter re-commenced today afternoon, Counsel L.S. Camara borrowed exhibit 12 from the court and asked the witness whether he wrote a detailed statement to the investigators in connection with the alleged coup. The witnessed admitted that he did, saying he wrote the statement himself.

The witness told the court that he could remember what he wrote in the statement though not vividly.

Asked whether he had written everything he told the court in his evidence in chief, the witness said he could have possibly skipped some of what he wrote.

The witness also alluded that he could recognise the statement, and he was thus handed a document for identification as his statement or not, which he confirmed as his.

Defence Counsel L.S. Camara was granted his application to tender the said statement into evidence, as there was no objection from the prosecution. The statement was marked and admitted into evidence as exhibit D.E.6.

At this point of hearing, Counsel Camara asked the witness to remind the court how long he had been in the military. The witness said 20 years, from 2002 to date.

“Sergeant Jatta, I am putting it to you that you have been in the military only 16 years. Is it correct that you were not in the military in 2013 to 2017?”

The witness acknowledged that the counsel was correct. Reacting to follow-up questions posed by the counsel. The witness added that between 2013 and 2017 he was at home and was driving a commercial van.

“Sergeant, I am putting it to you that between 2013 and 2017 you were working for the NIA,” the Counsel told the witness. “Yes, I was also working for the NIA,” the sergeant admitted.

Quoting from the proceedings using exhibit D.E.6, the counsel told the witness that he was asked why he was using “they” and not “we” in his explanation. The counsel also reminded the witness that he had said he was not going to be part of the coup because he knew it was illegal.

He again quoted the witness to have said he had reported the matter to the higher authorities on 12 December, asking further whether the witness actually did so. The witness said he did not.

The matter was adjourned till tomorrow at 1 pm.

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