State prosecutors in the Gambia Wednesday withdrew all charges against two senior officials of the previous regime of Yahya Jammeh accused of interfering with the work of the ongoing truth commission.
Fatoumata Jahumpa-Ceesay, a former speaker of the Gambia’s National Assembly and Yankuba Touray, a former AFPRC junta member and minister who held various portfolios during Ex-President Yahya Jammeh’s 22-year presidency, were arrested in March by the police and detained for several days following a complaint by the Ministry of Justice over concerns expressed by the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) that they had attempted to tamper or interfere with one of its witness, ex-army Sergeant, Alagie Kanyi.
The commission also expressed fear that Touray and Jahumpa-Ceesay had attempted to pervert the cause of justice by concealing evidence that could potentially incriminate them and junta colleagues in alleged atrocities and extra-judicial executions meted out to citizens while in power.
Prosecutors alleged that on or about the 5th January 2019, at Kanifing and diverse places, the former officials with intent to obstruct or interfere with the work of the TRRC, had called Alagie Kanyi, through his mobile phone and told him that he should not mind the commission, as they cannot do anything.
Prosecutors said the phone calls suggests or amounts to interfering with the work of the commission in the discharge of its functions.
The matter was first heard at the Kanifing Magistrates’ Court where Touray and Jahumpa-Ceesay were given D1 million bail after they pleaded not guilty.
In a desperate attempt to secure a conviction, the director of public prosecutions took over the case from the police and transferred it to the high court in Banjul.
But as the case proceeded before Justice A. S. Ceesay, the state could not produce any solid evidence to support the charges against the duo. The principal witness Alhaji Kanyi also made conflicting accounts when cross examined under oath by lawyers Abdoulie Sisohor and Lamin S. Camara, who represented the defendants.
Realising that the case against the duo is weak, the state admitted defeat and entered a nolle prosequi and terminate the case.