By Tabora Bojang
Momodou LK Bojang, a retired senior police head of criminal investigations, yesterday told the TRRC that former President Jammeh blocked police investigations into the death of former finance minister Ousman Koro Ceesay.
Koro Ceesay was brutally murdered and burned with his car around Jambur in June 1995.
The ex-finance minister was killed shortly after seeing off then junta chairman Yahya Jammeh to Addis Ababa.
He was allegedly lured into joining Edward Singhatey’s car to Yankuba Touray’s residence in Kotu where he was killed.
In his testimony, Bojang further alleged that Koro’s death was triggered by his insistence to reveal some financial lapses of the junta in his planned budget speech of 1995.
“Their plan was too premature because the vehicle number plate was even intact. There were no road marks or any marks on his Benz. Curiously too, his body was found sitting on the driver’s seat without any evidence of a struggle to get himself out of the way when the supposed fire started,” he said.
Bojang, 67, who is also a magistrate and now paramount chief of Kombo North, said after news of Koro’s death they visited the scene in Jambur where in the presence of the AFRPC junta members, he made clear his position to leave no stone unturned in the inquiry and that no amount of pressure would intimidate him .
He said after their inspection they found out that the fire did not start from the engine as it should happen in a normal car accident and it was established that the minister’s vehicle was not involved in an accident before being burnt to ashes as claimed by the Junta.
According to the former detective, a prima facie evidence of their initial investigations linked to Peter Singhatey as the principal suspect followed by Edward, Yankuba Touray and their bodyguards as responsible but the police could not question any of the suspects since there was no instruction from his superiors.
He said their informants told them that the soldiers parked their vehicles just behind Koro Ceesay’s car at the airport when Jammeh was departing.
He said preliminary investigations included reports of the fire and rescue services, police mechanical unit, department of public works, photographs taken at the scene as well as the autopsy report but admitted that this report would not carry any weight if the suspects were not under police custody.
“When FRI Jammeh became the Inspector General of Police, he informed me that there was an instruction from the Junta Chairman Yahya Jammeh that the case file of Ousman Koro Ceesay must be closed but didn’t provide any reasons,” Bojang claimed.
“This was very shocking, and we were all discouraged when this instruction came to us because we would have proved the case beyond doubt. We had no option but to close the case or risk losing our lives.”
“I told my station officer whether I am alive or not this case would one day come to light and the truth would manifest itself,” chief Bojang said.
Another witness Pa Mbye, a former Crime Management Coordinator recalled commenting that foul play could have been involved in Koro’s death.
“Peter Singhatey was there and I could see the expression on his face showed everything about his involvement,” Mbye said.
Mbaye also recalled visiting Yankuba Touray’s office two days after Koro’s killing. He said Yankuba only looked at him and told him to go back to his office. “That message to me was that I might be sent home any day,” Mbye said.
He said the following day someone came to his office to inform him that two people are going home tomorrow.
“I suspected myself to be one of the victims. That was when I started packing my belongings. Moments later, I was informed by the IGP that there was an instruction from State House that his service was no longer needed. Koro was killed; it was never an accident and the motive for his killing was what he wanted to say in the parliament because there was nothing they could do to stop him from saying such.
“My take is that no other person but Yankuba and Edward did it,” Mbye concluded.