Ex-member of the defunct AFPRC junta Yankuba Touray Charged With Murder

Former AFPRC topman Yankuba Touray has been slapped with a charge of murder after been arrested under the instruction of the TRRC following his refusal to answer to questions put to him by Commission’s lead counsel. According to Fatu Network.

Touray’s arrest and subsequent detention came barely few weeks after the State dropped criminal charges against him at the High Court.

The former junta member appeared before the TRRC on Wednesday, 26th June 2019 under a subpoena by the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC).

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Yankuba Touray

When he was called to be sworn-in, Touray, who wore a white outfit, refused admission of the prescribed oath.

“I am not swearing-in; I want to make a statement first,” Touray told the TRRC.

After a push and pull with the Commission, Touray was refused to give the statement he requested to make.

“I am not swearing-in. If I am not going to speak (make a statement), then I am leaving,” Touray said while he walked out of the room.

He was arrested immediately on the order of the TRRC chairperson. He was given a second chance after Essa M. Faal, the Lead Counsel to the Commission pleaded to the chairperson to give Mr. Touray a second chance to testify.

“Is this (arrest) an ambush Counsel?” Touray asked Essa Faal.

On the second attempt to bring him back to the Commission, Touray told the Lead Counsel that he won’t answer to any of his questions although he administered the prescribed oath. He relied on the Constitutional immunity accorded to him by the 1997 Constitution.

The constitution provides that: “No member of the Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council, any person appointed minister by the Armed Forces Provisional Ruling council or other appointees of the Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council shall be held liable or answerable before a Court or authority or under this Constitution or any other law, either jointly or severally, for an act or omission in the performance of his or her official duties.”

The constitutional immunity claimed by Yankuba Touray – a former junta and onetime minister of Local Government and Lands had been declared ineffective and a nullity issued by the Supreme Court of The Gambia in 2001, a legal practitioner confirmed to The Point.

The legal practitioner disclosed that the immunity that Mr. Touray invoked at the TRRC is in Schedule 2 Paragraph 13 of the 1997 Constitution of The Gambia under the Amendment Act 2001 No:6 of 2001 in the transitional and consequential provision.

Schedule 2, Paragraph 13 provides that no member of the Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council (AFPRC), any person appointed minister by the Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council, or other appointees of the Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council shall be liable or answerable before a court or authority under this Constitution or any other law, either jointly or severally, for an act or omission in the performance of his or her official duties.

It was disclosed that the APRC deliberately and illegally inserted an Amendment of Paragraph 13(1) of the 1997 Constitution in the reprint of the Constitution in 2002, thus misleading the general public on the provisions of an entrenched clause that has been tempered without approval by referendum.

It was further disclosed that by strict application of the law, anyone who has aided or abetted in illegally mutilated an entrenchment clause of the Constitution without a referendum has committed serious offence and shall be held accountable.

On Monday, the former minister of local government and lands appeared before the high court, where there was no specific mention of the charge Touray would face but a ministry of justice official confirmed to The Fatu Network shortly after Touray’s court appearance a charge of murder is what has been pressed against him.

The Fatu Network could not immediately ascertain whose murder it is that Mr. Touray has been charged on but a source said it is in connection with the brutal murder of former Gambian finance minister Ousman Koro Ceesay. He has been remanded at Mile 2 and he will appear in court again on Monday, July 8.

Former driver to Yankuba Touray, Warrant Officer Class one, Lamin Ndure yesterday told the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC), chaired Dr. Lamin J. Sise that after returning from dropping off Yankuba Touray’s family and guards, he observed that there was unpleasant smell in the corridor and sitting room at Yankuba Touray’s residence.

Touray at the TRRC

The witness recalled that Yankuba Touray, then minister for Local Government and Lands asked him to go and drop his family at Edward Singhateh’s residence at Cape Point and to also take his guards who were sent on patrol around the beach.

He pointed out that it was the day that Yahya Jammeh traveled for the Africa Union Summit in Ethiopia.

He explained that he was asked to go and drop his guards and his family at Edward Singhatey’s residence where there was a program.

He revealed that he took Yankuba Touray’s wife, Mamie Minteh, his wife’s sister and his two children; Fatou Touray and Edward Touray, his guards; Pa Amat Jangum, Lie ‘Tuluba’Bojang, Ensa Mendy and another whose name he could not remember.

He said after dropping Yankuba’s wife and family at the Singhateh’s residence, he dropped off the remaining guards at the seaside and returned to the Yankuba residence at Kerr Serign.

The witness also said he saw a fleet of vehicles at the residence but he saw Edward Singhateh standing inside Yankuba Touray’s residence.

He disclosed that he alighted from the vehicle and went to the shop and when he returned, he discovered that the fleet of vehicles had left.

He told the Commission that when he entered the house he observed that the house was unkempt and inhaled an unpleasant smell that he was not accustomed to for the 2 years he had worked there.

He further told the Commission that he observed that the tiles on the corridor was not as clean as it used to be; he left the house and went to bring Yankuba Touray’s family from Edward Singhateh’s residence and left for home.