The former head of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) Yankuba Badjie and eight others, standing trial for the murder of late Solo Sandeng, on Tuesday, finally took plea and denied the accusation against them.

The late Solo Sandeng was alleged to have been tortured to dead while under state custody for merely staging a peaceful protest demanding electoral reforms on April 14th, 2016.

The agency’s erstwhile Director General Yankuba Badjie, alongside 8 others namely; Louis Richard leese Gomez, his deputy, Saihou Omar Jeng, ex- director of operations, Babucarr Sallah, Yusupha Jammeh, Haruna Susso, Tamba Masireh, Lamin Darboe and Lamin Lang Sanyang are now charged with twelve counts of offence, ranging from conspiracy to commit murder, murder, assaults causing actual bodily harm amongst other charges.

They finally took their pleas before the court presided over by Justice Kumba Sillah-Camara after the dismissal of their application challenging the competence of the Deputy Director of Public Prosecution (DDPP) to exercise the powers and functions of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) in the absence of an incumbent of that office.

It could be recalled that by summons on notice dated the 3rd day of April, 2017, and filed on the same date, the accused persons seek an order striking out the information dated the 20th Day of March 2017 and filed same day for want of jurisdiction on the ground that the criminal case not instituted in accordance with the due process of law and the requisite provisions of the 1997 Constitution of the Republic of The Gambia. This application halted them from taking their plea as they were waiting for the court ruling on the issue.

During Tuesday’s sitting, all the 12 count charges ranging from murder, conspiracy and forgery where read to them and they all pleaded not guilty.

The case was then adjourned to the 8th, 9th, 10th and 11 May respectively for the state to open its case.