Gambia: Thousands of files in whistleblower’s custody targeted by spy agency

Gambia: Thousands of files in whistleblower’s custody targeted by spy agency

Gambia’s notorious State Intelligence Services is preying on its former legal advisor in an attempt to withdraw more than 10,000 files in his custody.

Baboucarr Badjie has with him documents critical to the workings of the intelligence services, formerly called the National Intelligence Agency dating back to 1994.

The documents are crucial paper trails on the secrets of the agency during the reign of former dictator Yahya Jammeh, under whose government the agency committed gross human rights abuses.

The country’s Intelligence Chief, Ousman Sowe, and the Police have requested for Mr. Badjie to hand over the documents, some of which are locked up in an office.

He has declined and his Attorney Lamin Darboe said Mr. Badgie will not be doing any handing over without a letter from the Personnel Management Office.

According to The Point Newspaper, the documents in Badjie’s possession include investigations and panel reports, budget estimates of the agency, correspondences with other government departments, documentations regarding external cooperation with other agencies, and detainee lists.

He also has administrative documents such as transfers, restructuring, strategic planning, intelligence estimates and annual work plans of the unit heads of the agency.

Badjie was arrested in June “for releasing classified information” and alleging that more than half of the State Intelligence Services were illiterate.

The SIS said Badjie’s report to President Adama Barrow, which was later leaked to the press “constitute violations of the official secrets and code of conduct binding on all active and serving officers of this intelligence service.”

Badjie was threatened and told he would witness his own death by the agents, some of whom have been implicated in the tortured killing of an opposition activist, Solo Sandeng.

He exposed corruption and nepotism in the agency and the tampering of evidence relevant to the prosecution nine former intelligence officers standing trial for Sandeng’s death.

The intelligence agency was the most feared security outfit during the Gambia’s decades-long dictatorship. Despite widespread allegations of serious abuses committed by the agency, none of its officers were held accountable for the tortures, rapes, killings and arbitrary detentions until after Jammeh’s ouster.

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