By Dawda Faye
Alagie Kanyi, the first prosecution witness in the case involving Yankuba Touray and Fatoumata Jahumpa –Ceesay who were charged with interfering with an informant or witness, said before Justice Amina Saho-Ceesay of the High Court in Banjul on the 16th May, 2019, that since Fatoumata Jahumpa-Ceesay was a former speaker of the National Assembly and a prominent person, he asked her to help him with the TRRC to make things easy for him.
In his testimony, he told the court that he lives at Jarra Sankuya in LRR and he is an immigration officer, saying that he was a soldier before. He stated that he joined the immigration on 10th October, 1998, and The Gambia Armed Forces on the 15th January, 1986, and left on the 15th January, 1998.
He told the court that he recognised Fatoumata Jahumpa-Ceesay on TV but knew Yankuba Touray in the army and they were in the same batch. He adduced that they passed out together.
He revealed that in January, 2019, while he was in Soma at Sankuya, his telephone rang and he received the call, stating that it was the voice of a female who introduced herself and told him that she was F.J. He said he asked which F.J. and she said she was Fatoumata Jahumpa. He noted that she told him that she knew he did not know her, and said she knew him through Edward Singhateh.
He further testified that he told her that he never worked for Edward Singhateh as his orderly, revealing that she told him that she had spoken to Yankuba Touray who gave her his (Alagie’s) telephone number. He informed the court that she said that Yankuba told her that Mr. Kanyi had been called by the TRRC.
He added that he confirmed to her that he went to the TRRC, and she asked him what they asked him. He said he told her that they asked him about 11th November, 1994, stating that she asked him whether he was using his WhatsApp number and he answered in the positive.
He narrated that she told him not to worry and that they are junior officers and told him not ‘to mind’ them. He stated that she told him that they could not ‘do anything’, adding that she asked him whether his mother was alive and he responded in the positive. He testified that she told him to do good things for his mother so that she would pray for him.
He narrated that she asked him where he was and he told her that he was at Kaur but was now at Soma, further stating that she told him that she was travelling to Dakar and when she reached there, she would call him and see what she could do for him. He said he told her that it was alright, adding that he returned her call and thanked her for her advice.
Mr. Kanyi told the court that he never had anything to do with her prior to their conversation, adducing that she only called him and asked him about the TRRC. He said he wondered why she called him, saying that he never asked her for any offer.
He revealed that after the conversation, he went home and received another call from Yankuba Touray who mentioned he(Kanyi’s) regimental number as 10529 in the army. He said that he asked him whether he had been called by the TRRC and he answered in the positive. He noted that Yankuba told him that he had also been called. He adduced that Yankuba asked him whether they asked him about the incident which happened at his house. He said Yankuba then told him not to mind them and that they could not do anything.
He stated that Yankuba told him whether they are not their commanders, and he answered in the positive. He narrated that Yankuba also asked him whether Fatoumata Jahumpa-Ceesay had called him and he responded in the affirmative. He said that Yankuba told him that he was the one who gave his number to her. He revealed that Yankuba then told him that the TRRC has only two years and they should ‘fuck off’.
Mr. Kanyi went on to say that after Yankuba rang off, he called him back and told him that since they are their commanders, he should first go to the TRRC. He further testified that he was in the army when the incident at Yankuba’s house happened.
He adduced that he was in the army from 1986 to 1998 with Yankuba but not in the same command. He responded to a question posed by the state counsel, A.M. Yusuf, and said that the incident that happened at Yankuba’s house was the murder of Koro Ceesay.
Counsel Sissoho, who was holding brief for lawyer Lamin S. Camara, objected to the question and said that the answer was not relevant, adding that the accused persons were not charged with murder. He argued that they were charged with conspiracy and interfering with a witness.
The witness was also asked who were present during the incident at Yankuba’s house but was met with an objection by counsel Sissoho.
The presiding judge then ruled that Koro Ceesay’s death was not before the court but asked the witness to answer the question as to how many people were present during the incident. He replied that he, Yankuba, Edward Singhateh, Peter Singhateh, Tumbul Tamba, Pa Alieu Gomez and P.R. Jatta were present.
In summary, under cross-examination, he told the court that he spoke with the accused persons on the phone before he made a statement at the TRRC.
Hearing continues on the 20th May, 2019.