President Adama Barrow has been presented with a new report by the legal adviser of the state intelligence agency on the status of the defunct National Intelligence Agency. Here are five important issues the report identifies:
1 – High illiterate rate and nepotism
More than 60 percent of the personnel of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) now State Intelligence Agency (SIS) “are functionally illiterate.” They can neither read nor understand comprehensive English language. Most of them were from a militia group, Green Youths, that backed Jammeh and were recruited with the help of Pa Bojang, a cousin of ex-President Jammeh.
2 – Barrow campaign trusted and promoted a spy
During the campaign for the 2016 presidential election, an NIA security officer (name withheld) while on study leave “infiltrated the UDP party and even became a bodyguard to President Adama Barrow (when he was a candidate) and during the political impasse and shortly after his assumption to the Office of the President. The agent is now promoted from a security officer to an operative directly answerable to the Director General of the SIS.
3 – Evidence tampering in torture rooms
The torture facility that the former Director General of NIA, Yankuba Badjie, allegedly erected at the NIA Investigation Unit repainted to remove stains of blood. “This act amounts to tampering with evidence as the investigation was being done into the death of Solo Sandeng, one of many individuals who had undergone torture there.”
4 – Prosecution witnesses in Sandeng trial posted out afar
Prosecution witnesses in the case of Solo Sandeng, namely Lamin Jobarteh and Lamin Fatty, are now sent to outside postings, “thus making their attendance at a trial a daunting task.
5 – Barrow ill-informed on NIA structure
President Barrow should have been informed about the human, material and financial resources of the NIA, including dissemination of personnel and property in The Gambia and outside.
But this was not done as of the time of writing the petition and Badjie feared that it is a signal that the NIA tradition of non-accountability could be maintained.
Mr. Badjie’s petition is dated 22nd May 2017 and has been sent to the Office of the President and copied to the Gambia Bar Association, The Inspector General of Police and The Director General of (SIS) ex-NIA.
The report was leaked to The Point Newspaper. The State House has not made any comments in reference to concerns raised in the petition.
Gambia is facing serious security challenges and West African troops are helping stabilize the situation since normalcy returned in the aftermath of the political standoff sparked by former President Yahya Jammeh’s refusal to cede power.