By Tabora Bojang
TRRC lead counsel yesterday debunked claims by family and legal sources, carried in The Standard, stating that the former NIA boss Yankuba Badjie and his colleagues have rejected invitation to testify at the truth commission.
On Monday, The Standard tapped credible first-hand information from sources close to the officials that all but one of them claimed they were visited by the TRRC and told of a proposal to invite them to its public sessions to shed light on how the NIA was run.
According to these sources, Badjie and others rejected the invitation claiming it is too late as anything they said at the TRRC could be used against them by their prosecutors. Our source further quoted Mr Badjie and others as saying that had they been given an opportunity to testify before being tried, they would have gone and said what they know about the NIA.
However, reacting to the article yesterday, Essa Faal said the TRRC indeed met the NIA officials but that was neither a formal meeting nor an invitation for them to appear. ”The TRRC team was in the prisons for a different mission and deemed it fit to inform the detained officials that they may be needed at some point on certain matters but that will not be the matter before the courts about them. We did not rule out contacting them in the future about issues but the TRRC will not investigate the matter that is before them in court,” he said.
Mr Faal added that the TRRC session on NIA has not even started and no one has been formally summoned or invited to the public hearings. “It is important that these points are clarified. It is not correct to say that we have invited the NIA detainees to the public hearings,” Mr Faal said.
Commenting on the issue, the Editor of The Standard said the fact that the TRRC admitted meeting the NIA in prisons and informed them that they could be needed over whatever issues, has made them [NIA officials] to believe that they are being invited to testify, hence their claims. “The lead counsel however failed to inform the public what has been the response of the NIA-9 at the informal meeting,” the editor said.