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GAMBIA: FABAKARY DENIES CONSPRIBG WITH FIRST ACCUSED TO OVERTHROW THE GOVERNMENT

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Sub-Inspector Fabakary Jawara, the 5th accused person in the treason trial before Justice B.V.P. Mahoney of the High Court of the Gambia, has told the court that he has never discussed or agreed with the 1st accused, Lance Corporal Sanna Fadera, to overthrow the government of the Gambia.

In December 2022, Sub Inspector Jawara and eight other people were arrested and detained on suspicion of plotting to overthrow President Adama Barrow’s government. Three of the suspects were later released, but Sub Inspector Jawara and four others were charged and remain in custody.

Sub Inspector Jawara has denied all allegations against him. In his opening statement to the court, he said that the alleged ringleader, Lance Corporal Sanna Fadera, is his younger brother. He claimed that he was unaware of any plans to overthrow the government.

Sub-Inspector Jawara said that the 1st accused person is his paternal half-brother. Their fathers are cousins, but the 1st accused person’s father is older than Sub Inspector Jawara’s father.

Despite being half-brothers, Sub Inspector Jawara and the 1st accused person never lived in the same compound. Sub Inspector Jawara testified that he had never met the second accused, Petty Officer Gibril Darboe, or the third accused, Corporal Ebrima Sannoh, before his arrest. He stated that the first time he saw them was the day he was brought to court.

He denied any involvement in a plot to overthrow the Gambian government. 

“Do you know a village called Kafuta,” Counsel L.S. Camara asked. 

“I know the name of a village called Kafuta, but I did not know the village,” Sub Inspector Jawara responded. 

“Did you or did you not agree with the accused (Lance Corporal Sanna Fadera) to overthrow the government of the Gambia,” Counsel L.S. Camara asked again. “Never” Sub Inspector Jawara answered. 

Sub-Inspector Jawara testified that he has a close relationship with the 1st accused, Lance Corporal Sanna Fadera. They talk on the phone every day. Jawara said he never spoke to the 2nd and 3rd accused persons on the phone because he did not know them.

Jawara told the court that he never heard from anyone that Fadera wanted to overthrow the government of the Gambia. Fadera never told him that he wanted to overthrow the government, either. Jawara also said he has never participated in any meeting intended to overthrow the government.Upon questioning, Sub-Inspector Jawara confirmed that he knew Barra Touray in Jarra Pakalinding in the Lower River Region (LRR). However, he denied knowing Yaya Manjang, who claimed to be a marabout from Busura Village. Jawara also denied Manjang’s allegation that he had visited him in Busura in connection with the alleged coup.

“That is not true, I never visited because I don’t know him,” Sub Inspector Jawara responded. 

Sub Inspector Jawara also told the court that nothing transpired between him and Captain Mamat Jobe (PW3). 

On whether he knows Mustapha Jabbie (PW4), Sub Inspector Jawara responded in the positive and explained to the court what transpired between them. 

“There was a business between me and him. He (Mustapha Jabbie) needed a truck from a friend who is abroad, and I am the one mediating. The price given to him by my friend, he cannot afford it. The price he wanted to pay for the truck, the guy would not accept it. From there, he (Mustapha Jabbie) came to me so that I can talk to the guy for him to reduce the price, which did not materialize. When I told Mustapha that, it did not go down well with him. He said I did not want to help him because the guy is my friend. Since then, I did not see him until the 30th of December 2022 when we were arrested,” he explained to the court. 

Sub-Inspector Jawara denied Mustapha Jabbie’s claim that he had gone to a marabout and received a concoction for the first accused, Lance Corporal Sanna Fadera, to bathe with in the bush. Jabbie had stated that he had driven them to the location.

“That is not true, I have never been to Busura with the 1st accused and Mustapha Jabbie. I have never even been to Busura,” Sub Inspector Jawara responded. Sub-Inspector Jawara testified that he had never visited Yaya Manjang’s compound for spiritual guidance for the first accused, as alleged by Mustapha Jabbie. He also confirmed that he knew Saikou Gassama, and that they were both detained at the Police Anti-Crime Unit in Banjulinding on the day of his arrest. They slept in the same cell.

“According to him (Saikou Gassama), he was arrested in connection to an alleged coup. He asked me why am I also arrested. I told him that I was also arrested in connection to an alleged coup. I have never met Saikou Gassama before my arrest,” Sub Inspector Jawara testified. 

“Have you spoken with him (Saikou Gassama) before requesting financial assistance from him meant for a charity for the 1st accused in connection to the alleged coup as alleged by Mustapha Jabbie,” Counsel L.S Camara asked? 

“That is not true, someone you don’t know, how can you request money from that person,” Sub Inspector Jawara responded. 

Sub Inspector Jawara said he never spoke to Mustapha Jabbie in connection to an alleged coup. 

“Mustapha Jabbie actually said it was you who sent him to take the accused persons (1st accused, 3rd accused and Sergeant Karamo Jatta (PW7) to Kafuta for a meeting,” Counsel L.S. Camara asked. 

“I have never spoken with Mustapha Jabbie to drive anyone to Kafuta. How can I do when I have my two vehicles at home and I can drive.,” Sub-Inspector Jawara told the court. 

Sub-Inspector Jawara testified that he had never spoken to Saikou Gassama on the phone. He also said that he had never spoken to Petty Officer Gibril Darboe or Corporal Ebrima Sannoh before meeting them in court. Jawara stated that he knows Sub-Inspector Sanusi Darboe (PW5) and that PW5 had worked under him at the Serious Crime Unit at the Police Headquarters. 

He testified that he was arrested by Sub-Inspector Sanusi Darboe (PW5), Kanuteh, and Sub-Inspector Jali M.I. Senghore (PW6).

“I was arrested immediately after Jummah’s prayers. Because I was at Abuko when I received a call from my RCO Pateh Bah to go because there was a panel and I should be part of it. I then informed my Station Officer at Abuko and moved there. As I reached there, I met Sanusi (PW5), and we went to Jummah prayer.  After that, he (Pateh Bah) told me that you are needed by these people in Banjul. I said no problem, but I came with a vehicle and I told them if should I go with my vehicle, and they said no, I should call someone to come and pick it up. I wanted to use my phone, they said no, then they gave me a phone and I called someone to come and pick up my vehicle.” 

“You told this court that you frequently spoke with the 1st accused. Can you tell this court what you normally discuss,” Counsel L.S. Camara asked. 

“Our discussion is always about family issues,” Sub Inspector Jawara responded.  

“Is there anything in exhibits P9 and P10 suggesting that you agree with the 1st accused and endeavor to overthrow the government of the Gambia,” Counsel L.S. Camara asked. 

The defendant responded in the negative and the case was adjourned to the 14th of September 2023 for address at noon. 

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