The ongoing trial of Taranga FM radio station Manager, Alagie Ceesay has been roundly condemned by the International Community and Gambian political activists as a sham. If the revelations from the two star witnesses of the State, Fatoumata A Drammeh and Zainab Koneh who absconded because they didn’t want to bear false witness against an innocent man are any indication, the world community after all has good reason to doubt the credibility of this entire case.
Both Fatou and Zainab were Protocol Officers at the State House. With the new discovery by Faturadio Investigative Team of an elaborate scheme by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), in collaboration with Africell (the Cell Phone company with which Alagie’s phone line is subscribed) and Jimbe Jammeh, a Protocol Officer at the State House who befriended Zainab Koneh, Alhagie’s girlfriend to get information about Alhagie and passed it on to the NIA to frame him, any attempt to send this man to prison for doing his job as a journalist will represent abuse of power at its best.
Alagie Ceesay was first arrested on July 2nd by the NIA. He was held incommunicado for almost 2 weeks during which time he was also severely tortured. On July 13, they dropped him off for dead on the roadside around the Airport. His release was met with a big sigh of relief by family, human rights and journalist groups, and the media who were by now making noise around the world demanding his unconditional release since he hadn’t been charged with any crime.
However, it turned out to look like his well wishers celebrated way too soon, for just when they thought his ordeal was finally over, Alagie was rearrested on the night of July 17. What happened before and after this arrest exposes the true intent of his captors – the system is determined to put this poor guy away for good by hook or crook.
Before being picked up, the NIA went to Africell and duplicated Alagie’s cell phone number and had his whatsapp blocked temporary. Once these were done, the NIA sent via Whatsapp, a picture text image of President Jammeh with a gun and bullet pointing to his head with the heading Sniper 15. Prior to this, the same picture was circulating on the Internet where it was posted by Fatou Camara of Faturadio, who inturn received it from anonymous sources in The Gambia. According to both Zainab and Fatoumata, they both received a call from an NIA agent who would only identify himself as K as soon as they received this text. He informed them of the arrival of the text and instructed them not to delete it. When Faturadio researched who this K could be, the description could fit only one agent called Kebba Secka.
After the arrest of Alagie, Jimbe made a trip to the NIA. As soon as Jimbe left the NIA, both Fatoumata and Zainab were invited to the agency for questioning. Once they arrived, the NIA briefed them as to what was being done and the agency’s desire to lock Alagie up for good acting on a directive from the “top”. Both were told that since they were the ones who were “in touch” with Alagie, they had to cooperate otherwise they both faced jail time. They were asked to write statements which was all dictated to them by the NIA. Fatoumata would later protest to the Prosecutor, S.H Barkum during his attempt to coach her regarding how she would lie in court, but this was met with a stiff warning that she will be sent to prison for 7 years or pay a fine of D50,000 if she refused to do as instructed. Fatoumata has been testifying against Alagie since then, with plans afoot to bring Zainab next as the prosecution witness, when they both decided after some serious soul searching that they couldn’t falsely testify against an innocent person let alone someone near and dear to their hearts.
Meanwhile Alagie’s case is up for another hearing on October 8, 2015 before Justice Azumi Balarabe. It must be noted that Balarabe was recommended to The Gambia Government by S.H Barkum. Observers have expressed optimism that with these new revelations, the State has no other option but to let this innocent man go home to his family, especially in light of the fact that both star prosecution witnesses have absconded with claims of being pressured to lie against Alagie. The world is watching.