The current director of NIA, Ousman Sowe has escaped banning as recommended by the TRRC.
The TRRC recommended a ban on Ousman Sowe, from holding public office with the government of The Gambia for a minimum period of 10 years for the destruction and concealment of evidence at the NIA.
However according to the White Paper released yesterday, “Government notes that while the actions alleged above are said to have happened in May 2017, the TRRC’s mandate covers the period from July 1994 to January 2017. The Government is therefore of the view that this recommendation goes beyond the scope of the TRRC’s mandate.”
A legal expert told The Standard that this now means that the ban could not affect Mr Sowe because the mandate of the TRRC stops at a time when Mr Sowe was not in office to have allegedly concealed evidence. “So the ban does not affect him,” the expert said.
Meanwhile, the government has said it has partially accepted the ban on former IGP Yankuba Sonko and senior police chief Malamin Ceesay from holding public office for ten years for their roles in covering up the killings of the West African migrants, but it has referred it for further investigation in light of potentially exculpatory evidence submitted in favour of Yankuba Sonko.
On the recommendation to ban Harry Sambou and Samsudeen Sarr from holding public office for five years for their participation in the torture of Omar Dampha and Ballo Kanteh, respectively, the White Paper said Government partially accepts the recommendation of the Commission but notes that while Harry Sambou was given the opportunity to testify before the Commission, Samsudeen Sarr was not afforded a similar opportunity in spite of his well-publicised calls for an opportunity to appear before the Commission and respond to the allegations levelled against him by Ballo Kanteh. “It is the Government’s view that this is inconsistent with his right to fear hearing.”
The Government further noted with dismay that the TRRC failed to enquire further into the cold-blooded killing of 6 young soldiers in the Farafenni army barrack attack of 1996 nor did it make any attempts to establish their victimhood and that of their survivors. “It is the Government’s position that Corporal Saihou Sidibeh, Corporal Essa Keita, Private Ebrima Manneh, Staff Sgt. Lamin Badjie, Private Bakary Saidy and Private Ebrima Bojang died defending the territorial integrity of The Gambia and shall be given due posthumous honours by the Gambia Armed Forces. Their survivors shall equally be classified as victims and shall be eligible to receive reparations.”