By Ousman A. Marong
Muhammed Lamin K. Bojang, a native of Sukuta and chief of Kombo North has said the the former president Yahya Jammeh ordered him to close the investigation case into the murder of the late Ousman Koro Ceesay, former Finance minister in the early days of the military take over in 1994 in The Gambia.
Bojang, 67, a former CID officer of the Gambia Police Force (GPF) was testifying before the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) on Thusrday at the Dunes Hotel in Kololi.
“We (the police) launched an investigation into the late Ousman Koro Ceesay’s death, but later got instruction from the former chairman of the military junta in 1994, Yahya Jammeh that we should close the case file,” he revealed.
According to the witness, they received information at the police that the late Finance minister Ousman Koro Ceesay was involved in a car accident around Jambur -Jabang Highway and got burnt with his vehicle. He said they (the police) went to the scene to find out the root cause of the problem.
“Upon arrival at the scene together with the Gambia Fire and Rescue Services (GFRS); Alieu Njie , a photographer at the Gambia Police Force (GPF) took the real view of the vehicle and found the body of Koro Ceesay burnt into ashes, whilst the vehicle’s number plate was found lying down under the vehicle,” he asserted.
He pointed out that the body of the late Ousman Koro Ceeesay was taken out from the vehicle by the Gambia Fire and Rescue Services and was taken to the RVTH, now Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital (EFSTH) in Banjul.
“We (the police) were surprised in the way and manner in which we found Koro’s vehicle. There were no knocks on the vehicle and the body of the vehicle was intact,” he explained.
He said that if the vehicle was actually involved in an accident, then there must be some knocks on the vehicle. He described the engine of the vehicle as a sealed engine, and observed that if the vehicle had caught fire due to the accident, then it would have started burning from the engine.
He alleged that they met all the junta members apart from the then chairman Yahya Jammeh, at the funeral of Koro Ceesay’s in Dippa Kunda and that, Peter Singhateh was seen with a wrapped bandage on his left hand. Bojang added that some angry people were saying at the funeral ceremony that it was the government that killed Ousman Koro Ceesay.
He disclosed that during the burial, someone informed him (Muhammed L.K Bojang) that Edward Singhateh has a hand in Koro Ceesay’s death.
When asked by the counsel, who is this person that you are referring to? The witness replied no! I wouldn’t tell you, because there is no law for me to tell you. Counsel Jahateh replied please proceed then.
Bojang recalled saying during the investigation that no stone will be left unturned in the investigation of Koro’s death. He said his own words later turned to hunt him, as the then NIA officer Baba Saho was tasked to start a surveillance on him. He said Ebou Njie of the Gambia Police Force (GPF) was to first person to test Koro Ceesay’s vehicle and from there they (the police) continued to carry out their investigations. He emphasized that they (the police) were almost done with their investigation and were only waiting for the ‘autopsy’ report from country’s main referral hospital (RVTH) to conclude their report. He confirmed it was during this interval that ex-president Jammeh ordered them (GPF) to close the file of the late Ousman Koro Ceesay.
Bojang further recalled that one Lamin Fatty commonly known as “Malakal Mawti” meaning the angel of death, who was then working at the State House, visited the police headquarters in Banjul where he (Muhammed Lamin K. Bojang) jokingly told him (Lamin Fatty) that; “since they refer to you as ‘Malakal Mawti’, let me rescue myself out.” He said as he was stepping down stairs in the building, he received information that Lamin Fatty came to tender the sacking latter of the then police IGP.
The witness described Lamin Fatty to be someone very cruel and that anytime he (Lamin Fatty) is seen in government offices, he is there to either effect arrest on someone or to tender termination letters.