COMMISSIONER JATTA CONTINUES TESTIMONY IN BILLION DOLLAR COCAINE CASE
Commissioner Yusupha Jatta of the National Drug Enforcement Agency on Tuesday continues testifying before Magistrate Alagbe Taiwo Ade of the Banjul Magistrates’ Court, in the on going one billion dollar cocaine case.
When the case was called, the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Mikalive Abdullah announced his appearance for the State, while Lamin Camara appeared for some of the accused persons and Emmanuel Chime represented the eight accused person ,Ephraim Michel Chiduben. Jatta told the court that they discovered fire arms and ammunition at Baobab Island in room seven. These arms and ammunition, he said, were Ar 15 A2 Rifle American Caliber 223 with a serial number 0458457, a short gun Russian serial number 050028036 and a Gluck hand gun- pistol AGG Austrian type AGG 116 No EDR and the rifle ammunitions. He said these are life round ammunitions together with the guns, the total quantity of which is 80 life round ammunitions.
Commissioner Jatta said after the discovery and identification of the arms they took them to National Drug Enforcement Agency Headquarters (NDEA). He said the said arms and ammunition were sent to the Military Headquarters for ballistic analyses which, he said, was done by one Captain E. Krubally, who sent the analyses report to their Headquarters (NDEA) through the Director General Benedict Jammeh. The witness said that since then the arms were kept at the NDEA headquarters by the exhibit keeper until he (Jatta) was asked to bring them to court. He added that the ammunitions were 5.56mm life rounds which totaled 51 and one hunting bullet 9mm life round which totaled 20. He said he collected them from where they were kept and that if shown he will be able to identify them by their serial numbers.
At this juncture, the DPP applied to tender the fire arms and ammunition as exhibits in evidence. No objection was raised by the defence counsels. The arms and ammunitions were then admitted and marked as exhibits R1-R6.
Jatta further testified that the assertion of the first accused (Ghazi) that room seven at Baobab Island was occupied by the second accused person (Sanchez) was verified and that the second accused has stated in his statement that he was the one occupying the said room; that he also admitted owning the said arms and ammunitions.
When asked by the DPP whether the second showed an authority to them for having the said arms, Jatta said that the accused did not show them any authority. He added that exhibit Q (Memory card for a Camera) was brought by him for safe keeping and he gave it to Inspector Lamin Gassama to go through it in a computer so as to find out the content of exhibit Q. He said the said exhibit was examined by Lamin Gassama in his presence at his office and they came to see many photos including those of the warehouse at Bonto from the foundation up to finishing. “I instructed Lamin Gassama to print out the photos that will be reliable for our investigation”, said Jatta.
He said after the printing of the photos they put them in the case file and he will be able to identify them in court through work done at the warehouse.
“We humbly applied to tender the pictures for ID purposes only”, DPP submitted.
No objection was raised by the defence and the said pictures were marked as IDA1-A18.
Jatta said the ballistic report issued by the Gambia Armed Forces was also put in the case file and he will be able to identify it through the logo of the said force and it was made under the hand of captain E Krubally . The said report was tendered and marked as IDB.
He said they later found out that there was a bunker running at the back of the warehouse and on the 5th of June 2010, he (Jatta) and Inspector Gassama went back to the Ware House at Bonto and they found out that there was a big slab in one of the rooms in the warehouse and that they went through the slab into the room of the bunker and they made a hole by using a chisel and a hammer that was found in the said warehouse; that making that hole they met rice sacks/ bags and he called the DG of NDEA to tell him about the discovery in the bunker. He said the sister forces were invited namely the NIA, Customs, Police, Army, and the NDEA to go to Bonto. The first accused person (Ghazi) and Sanchez (2nd accused) were brought to the warehouse in order to show them the discovery in the bunker.
He said they found out that the content of the bags was suspected cocaine; that each bag was containing 25 stones/blocks and some loose bags were also found; that when they look at the actual thing 85 bags of cocaine were brought out of the bunker into the warehouse and then they transported them to the NDEA headquarters for analyses by using three pickups with an armed escort.
He said after this the accused persons were then taken back to where they were detained.
Jatta indicated that at the NDEA headquarters the bags of the suspected cocaine was analyzed and it was proven to be cocaine and they were kept in a store guarded by armed men; that the door to the store has four to five padlocks and the keys were kept by the sister forces so that one cannot go into the store without the others; that the store is still under guard by armed men.
When asked by the DPP whether he would be able to identify the 85 bags of cocaine if shown, Jatta said “certainly”.
At this point, the DPP said that the 85 bags containing the cocaine cannot be brought before the court and in that circumstance he is applying for the court to go and look at them for identification purposes so that they can tender the lot in evidence. The DPP said the keys are with the sister forces and that in this circumstance he would like to apply for an adjournment so that he can write to the said forces for them to know the time the court intends to go and look at the said bags.
Camara said that the DPP has made two applications before the court i.e. an adjournment and also for the places where the drugs are kept to be visited. He said he is not opposed to both applications but his concerned is that the DPP said that he want to write to the sister forces but he preferred for the court to make an order for the visit to be conducted.
The DPP was quick to consult his witness and he told the court that it is not necessary for the court to make an order since they can access the place on the next adjourned date.
The case was then adjourned to Thursday, 17th February, for the place to be visited