SIS DG Sowe on the hot seat at TRRC


By Lamin Cham

Although State Intelligence Services director general, Ousman Sowe is not considered an adversely mentioned person at the TRRC, he all the same was a valuable witness as the commission probed into the modus operandi of the notorious NIA for which he worked for 15 years.

Since becoming DG of the institution, now renamed SIS, Mr Sowe has been credited for transforming the institution from its repressive image to a civilised professional intelligence gathering institution in a democratic setting. However, many critics said his somewhat ‘hasty’ transformation projects, such as replacing old structures could amount to destroying evidence of the heinous crimes committed there under tyrant Yahya Jammeh.


But a calmly confident and good-natured DG Sowe appeared before the commission yesterday taking questions on his stride, and so far, avoiding serious confrontation with lead counsel Essa Faal.  Faal, who appeared to be saving his missiles for today, the second day, wanted Sowe to admit that the NIA had in the past strayed into areas that were not their mandate such as arresting in drug and immigration cases which should have been handled by the competent agencies such as the NDLEA and the GID respectively.

He took Sowe over an inconvenient incident concerning the arrest of a drug suspect, which operation was led by Sowe himself. Mr. Sowe cautiously responded that given the potential of drugs as a threat to national security and the fact that there is a close nexus between drug financing and terrorism, it will not be out of place that the intelligence services should naturally be involved in investigations about it.  However, Faal could not agree that such soweinvolvement should go as far as gunshots and possible torture. The SIS DG will be back this morning to continue his testimony.