By Yankuba Jallow
Yankuba Touray on Monday said he did not block late Ousman Koro Ceesay’s vehicle contrary to the testimony of one of the prosecution witnesses, who said he witnessed Touray and Edward Singhatey blocking the late minister’s vehicle.
Touray said his vehicle was not at the airport on that day as he was in the vehicle of former President (then Chairman) Yaya Jammeh who was travelling outside the country.
“My vehicle was not at the airport,” he said.
Touray is facing a single count of murder. He is accused of killing his former colleague Minister Ousman Koro Ceesay, who was responsible for finance under the military rule in June 1995.
Touray denied liability and the prosecution called nine witnesses to testify, after which, the prosecution’s case was closed. The former military captain called in two witnesses and he is the third witness in defence.
Below is the verbatim testimony of Mr Touray on Monday, 22nd February 2020 before Justice Ebrima Jaiteh of the Banjul High Court. He was led by his lawyer, Abdoulie Sisoho.
Question: On that day, were you aware that you lost a colleague cabinet minister?
Question: How do you get to know about that?
Answer: I was informed by the Secretary to Cabinet Mr Tamsir Mbye.
Question: Have you ever been with Ensa Mendy to the State House?
Question: Can you tell the court when you went with him to the State House?
Answer: Usually, on Tuesday and Thursday. those were the days we used to have our Council and Cabinet meetings respectively.
Question: Can you tell the court the time those meetings were held?
Answer: They were held in the morning or afternoon, depending on the schedule of the Chairman [of APRC]and sometimes it ends very late in the evening. It depends on the agenda.
Question: If the meeting ends very late in the evening, what usually happens to Mr. Ensa Mendy?
Answer: He accompanies me to Kerr Sering.
Question: You used to collect your kids from school and take them home. What happens to them on Tuesdays and Thursdays when the meeting ends very late?
Answer: The kids were picked up by the driver and driven home at Kerr Sering.
Question: In those meetings on Tuesday and Thursday, did Lamin Ndour accompany you?
Answer: No, because it was a walking distance from my office to the cabinet.
Question: For clarity purpose, your office was at the Quadrangle?
Question: What happens to Mr. Ndour if these meetings are in sessions?
Answer: He stays at the office and picks the kids from school and drives them to Kerr Sering.
Question: Lamin Ndour and Ensa Mendy [both]testified before this court that they accompanied you to the State House when Yaya Jammehwas leaving the country on the Friday. Is that true?
Answer: No, it is not.
Question: Captain Jangum told this court that he was posted at your place [residence]but he cannot remember your guards. As an experienced person, from non-commissioned officer to a commissioned officer, do you take this statement as true?
Answer: That is impossible because as a non-commissioned officer all guards under your command should be at your fingertips, particularly, when you serve in the same company with the private soldiers.
Question: Do you remember Pa Habib Mbye?
Question: Mr. Mbye testified that you blocked Mr. Koro Ceesay’s vehicle intentionally at the airport – you and Edward Singhatey.
Answer: That is not true because my car was not at the airport.
Question: He further said subsequently you invited him to your office. Is that true?
Answer: This is slander because the closest encounter I had with Pa Habib, whom I don’t know, was when he came to testify as a prosecution witness in this case before this court.
Question: Prior to this case, have you ever have an encounter with Pa Habib Mbye?
Question: Have you ever sat with Mr Alagie Kanyi and discussed the killing of a human being?
Question: Did you sit with Alagie Kanyi to discuss the killing of Ousman Koro Ceesay?
Question: Have you ever been to Alagie Kanyi’s house?
Question: Have you ever invited Alagie Kanyi to your house?
Question: Have you ever invited Alagie Kanyi to your residence in Cape Point, Kotu or Kololi in your life?
Answer: No, I did not have any contact with him since I was at the 1st and 2nd infantry battalions. The closest encounter we had was when he testified as a prosecution witness in this case and [in]another case which I was charged by the State for interference. He made a “rousing lie” against me. The State entered anolle in the case for lack of merit.
Question: Have you ever discussed with Edward Singhatey that you killed Ousman Koro Ceesay?
Question: Did you discuss with Peter Singhatey that you killed Ousman Koro Ceesay?
Question: Did you invite Alagie Kanyi, Edward Singhatey and Peter Singhatey into your house ever?
Question: Did you invite Alagie Kanyi, Peter Singhatey and Edward Singhatey into your house to kill Koro Ceesay?
Question: Alagie Kanyi said they were briefed in your house between 6 pm and 8 pm.
Answer: That is impossible.
Question: Can you tell the court why that is impossible?
The case was adjourned to Thursday, 25th February 2021 at 1 pm.