Gambia former Justice Emmanuel Alembong Nkea, a former judge of the Special Criminal Division of The Gambia High Court, described former Chief Justice Emmanuel Agim as the worst Chief Justice (CJ) he has ever worked with. Justice Nkea told the Truth-seeking commission that “There were tremendous interferences under CJ, Agim during Yahya Jammeh’s regime.”
“Why do you say Justice Agim was the worst CJ you worked with?” asked Counsel Faal. Justice Nkea responded that because all the interference emanated from Chief Justice Agim. “He battered me and demotivated me in several ways and instigated my dismissal.”
Counsel Faal told him that those were serious allegations. “I will say so even in my graves,” Nkea responded.
Jammeh ordered a cheap aircraft for pilgrims to Mecca
He said his appointment as Judge coincided with the trampling on Jammeh’s political opponents.
Justice Nkea told the commission that the Judiciary was “an adjunct to the Executive and was an extensive part of the Executive household.”
“You are suggesting that the Judiciary was used to foster Yahya Jammeh’s interest?” asked counsel Faal. “Perfectly!” responded Nkea
Justice Nkea recalled that while serving as a Magistrate, he had a matter involving one Alasan ST Jammeh, who was Permanent Secretary of Religious Affairs and was the liaison between State House and the Hajj Commission.
He said a pilgrim aircraft abandoned Gambian pilgrims in Mecca in 2009 before he (Nkea) was appointed as a Judge.
The TRRC witness said Alasan Jammeh was charged with “giving false Information to the Hajj Commission.” Instead, “Yahya Jammeh told him to hire the cheapest aircraft to ferry the pilgrims to Mecca.”
Mr. Nkea recalled that on the 2nd July 2010, a decision to sack him as a Magistrate was rescinded.
He added that he later met former Solicitor General Pa Harry Jammeh, who told him that when President Jammeh read Nkea’s judgment, Jammeh was convinced that Nkea did nothing wrong. As a result, he was reinstated.
Bun Sanneh, the NDEA funds, and the Chief Justice
Nkea also mentioned the case of Ibrahim Bun Sanneh, who Barrister Kebba Sanyang represented at the time.
In this case, Chief Justice Agim summoned Nkea and ordered him to discharge and acquit Bun Sanneh, when the latter was alleged to have mismanaged National Drugs Enforcement Agency funds from his position as Director General at the time.
Nkea said Bun Sanneh made confessional statements admitting to behaving dishonestly and that he (Nkea) decided to convict him.
Nkea alleged that Bun Sanneh was very instrumental in the appointment of Justice Agim as CJ. “Agim, therefore, persuaded Kebba Sanyang to file an appeal so that he would secure an acquittal at the Appellate Court”, Nkea revealed to the TRRC.
CJ Akomaye Agim interfered to save his Nigerian Brothers.
He said in 2011-2012, three Nigerians were arrested in connection to the murder of British Citizens in Kololi. The Briton was stabbed to death, and his murderers attempted to burn his car. But they were arrested by the Police.
After Yahya Jammeh’s government executed nine death row inmates, Chief Justice Agim summoned him to his office and told him the Nigerians were his brothers and that he (Nkea) should not convict them because they would be killed.
“I convicted the two and sentenced them to death while one was not guilty. In reaction, CJ Agim almost physically assaulted me and promised to deal with me,” Nkea told the TRRC.
Abdoulie Njie and Ebou case
Justice Nkea informed the commission that in the case of Abdoulie Njie and Ebou, who were charged with the 2006 foiled coup, he discovered that the cautionary statement indicates that Mr. Njie tried to call the State Guard Commander, Sering Modou Njie, to disclose to him about the coup. Therefore, the allegations of concealment could not stand.
Nkea said the next day, he found an envelope containing a letter in his office stating that he should convict Abdoulie Njie to save Captain Sering Modou Njie from dismissal.
He recollected that despite the threats in the letter, he released Abdoulie Njie while Ebou was convicted. Nkea said he received threats from the NIA and the DPP as a result of his ruling.
“Abdoulie Njie and Co were held for 6 months without trial, and this triggered Barrister Touray to file a Habeas Corpus (produce the body dead or alive).
The threats from Yankuba Badjie and Alagie Morr
In Kassoum Sowe, Demba Baldeh and another, who served as sureties for the Nigerian fraudsters, Nkea said the former Director-General of NIA, Yankuba Badjie told him that his men could not appear in court and sought for them to give a written affidavit. Nkea said he told Yankuba that if the NIAs failed to appear, he would dismiss the case, which he did.
The former High Court Judge alleges that Edrisa Jobe, alias Alagie Morr, a state intelligence agent, told him that he was “behaving like a big man but that they will size him down by coming after him.”
According to Nkea, after his encounter with Yankuba Badjie and Alagie Morr, he received the worst intimidation in his life from anonymous calls. Nkea said he discovered that the sim cards from those calls were not registered, nor was the phone used on any of these sim cards.
Nkea said that the current Interior Minister and former Police Chief, Yankuba Sonko, advised him to be careful as it was not ordinary people making the threats.
In the case of Justice Wowo, Nkea said he eventually convicted him where he was found wanting. He freed him on other charges. He did found him innocent.
Mama Fatima Singhateh did nothing to protect Nkea
Nkea said he eventually got netted by his foes in the Jammeh regime. They alleged that he had met with lawyer Ousainou Darboe to compromise the case of Amadou Sanneh. They also alleged that he forged his birth certificate from Sierra Leone and was not a qualified lawyer from Cameroon.
Nkea said the NIA operatives went as far as calling his siblings in Cameroon that he was arrested in The Gambia for drug peddling.
Justice Nkea testified that he urged the Chief Justice to issue a public statement to protest the NIA pressure. Still, the CJ told him that Mama Fatima Singhateh (the Attorney General) was the person to issue such statements. Nkea said Singhateh intimated to him that he should allow the NIA to finish their Investigations.
He further informed the Commission that Justice Mama Fatima Singhateh called and told him that he should meet her the following morning for a discussion.
The escape from The Gambia to Senegal
He said that knowing his days of living as a free man in The Gambia were numbered, one of his Guards, Gibbou Dem drove him in a taxi through Kanilai to the Casamance and finally to Senegal. Consequently, there was a publication in the Point Newspaper indicating “Justice Nkea Wanted.”
According to Nkea, he would have been either arrested or killed if he continued staying in The Gambia. Upon arrival in Senegal, Nkea said he sent a soft copy to the Attorney General and to Ceesay Sallah Wada of the Court of Appeal at the time.
The Point Newspaper publication was planted by the NIA, particularly Yankuba Badjie, according to Nkea.
“In the Gambia, the NIA and the Judiciary are the worst Institutions. The three worst Gambians in the civil services are Yankuba Badjie and Edrisa Jobe, and Justice Emmanuel Agim,” according to Nkea.
In his concluding remarks, Nkea said he sent direct letters to President Jammeh through his presidential guard, Gibbou Dem.
The Police attempted to arrest Dem for assisting Nkea. He said Dem stranded on his way to Senegal and later left Senegal to take the back way to Italy.