— by Musa Saidykhan —
Is Jammeh Planning Something
Against The Acquitted Rear Admiral?
Army14(2)A delay in releasing the acquitted and discharged former Navy Chief has been blamed on President Yahya Jammeh.
Rear Admiral Sarjo Fofana was on Wednesday freed by the Supreme Court after he had won an appeal against his conviction. He was cleared of conspiracy to commit treason and treason. He was released from state custody last Friday, raising fears that President Jammeh could be planning sinister plots against him.
Fofana, the former President of the Court Martial and his co-convict Lt. General Lang Tombong Tamba, the former Army Chief of Staff, were sentenced to 20 years in prison. The Supreme Court set aside earlier verdicts by both the High and Appeals courts.
The court saw the verdict of High Court Judge as both “inappropriate and speculative.” Judges blamed Emmanuel Ikpala for relying on the evidence of only Major Bah and the statement obtained from a treason convict Captain Yaya Darboe to convict the men.
“The trial judge ignored the testimony of Yaya Darboe in considering the guilt of the appellants,” said Justice Gibou Semega Janneh. He said this was not in favour of Fofana and Tamba. In fact, Justice Janneh said the testimony of Captain Darboe should not have been admitted since he refused to swear on oath.
However, Lt. General Tamba lost an appeal to squash his 10-year imprisonment on concealment of treason, with Justice Gibou Janneh agreeing there was “no miscarriage of justice.” Chief Justice Ali Nawaz Chowhan maintained the verdicts on counts 3 and 4 blaming Lt. General Tamba for not informing the president on the coup plot, despite being aware of it. “His conduct shows that he wanted to take full advantage of the coup,’ Justice Chowhan said.
The former shackled military chiefs were escorted back to Mile 2 Central Prison. Families and friends who received Fofana’s acquittal with jubilation would not understand why the government dragged its feet in releasing Sankwia native.
Instead of being released, Fofana was transferred to the headquarters of the National Intelligence Agency in Banjul. Here he was detained incommunicado on the pretext that “the prison officer billed to sign the release form is on tour with President Jammeh.” This flimsy excuse is acceptable to many people who suspect the government is hatching yet another plot against an innocent man.
“We will be on alert because this is a government that cannot be trusted,” said a close family source. “This is the government that has a history of disrespecting court verdicts. The delay in releasing him has raised our suspicions that President Jammeh does not want to see Sarjo Fofana a free man.”