Yankuba Touray shortly before his arrest

A former Gambian minister in the erstwhile government of Yahya Jammeh who refused to incriminate himself at the truth commission was Monday charged with murder.

Yankuba Touray, a former member of the Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council (AFPRC), which toppled the Jawara government in 1994 and ruled the Gambia until 1997, is accused of killing the country’s former Finance Minister, Ousman Koro Ceesay in 1995.

Prosecutors said sometime in June 1995 in Kololi village, West Coast Region, Touray with malice aforethought hit Mr Ceesay with a pestle like object and other dangerous objects, thereby causing his death.

Touray will be back in court next week to take a plea on the charges. He is meanwhile remanded at Mile Two Central Prisons.

Burnt out 

The remains of the former Finance minister were discovered in a burnt out vehicle. Investigations by police at the time attributed it to a freak vehicular accident and ruled out any foul play.

Investigators said they believe the Sedan Benz he was driving had hit a little bridge on a country road behind Jambur village  at speed before catching fire and killing him.

However former soldiers who have appeared at the truth commission have alleged that Ceesay was invited to Touray’s residence in Kololi where he was set upon and  killed by some other council members including Touray.

Immunity

Koro Ceesay

The decision to charge Touray follows his refusal to testify at the truth commission investigating alleged human rights violations committed during his time in government.

Touray claimed that he had immunity as guaranteed in the 1997 constitution but the Attorney General and minister of Justice, Abubacarr Tambadou said no such immunity exist and vowed to come down heavily on him.

In an interview with the state-owned Gambia Radio and Television Services (GRTS), Tambadou who was in court with a team of senior state prosecutors, described Touray’s actions and conduct as contemptuous and disrespectful and said his ministry will vehemently prosecute him for contempt of the truth commission and other crimes that he was implicated.

“We will set an example in Mr Touray so that those who are even imagining that they could do something like this and get away with it will think twice about it,” he said.