The Gambia’s former Tourism Minister was sentenced to death by the High Court in Banjul. Justice Ebrima Jaiteh condemned Yankuba Touray to death by hanging after he was found guilty of the cold-blooded murder of Ousman Koro Ceesay.

Mr. Ceesay, former Finance Minister of the ruling military junta led by former Lt. Yahya Jammeh, was murdered in 1995.

Touray, who was charged with the murder of Mr. Ceesay, had earlier refused to testify before the Truth Reconciliation and Reparations Commission. Prosecution witnesses corroborated that Ceesay was murdered in Touray’s house in Kololi. Yankuba had throughout denied culpability. All the nine prosecution witnesses who testified as well as tendered exhibits in court never doubted Touray’s culpability. The defence team called three witnesses including the convict. All of them denied Yankuba’s involvement in the gruesome murder.

In handing down verdict, Justice Jaiteh said it was clear that the prosecution had proven its case beyond reasonable that Mr. Touray is the murderer of Ousman Koro Ceesay. The Judge, who described Touray as the primary participant in the murder of Koro Ceesay, relied heavily on the testimony of former Army Sergeant Alagie Kanyie. He said Kanyie who is an accomplice to Koro’s murder alongside former Caltain Edward Singhatey, Momodou Tumbul Tamba, BK Jatta and Pa Alieu Gomez, is a credible witness. Besides, Justuce Jaiteh added, Kanyie’s testimony was not controverted by the Defense.

Justice Jaiteh said prosecution witnesses corroborated that on the murder day Yankuba Touray moved his family to Edward Singhatey’s residence for a supposed party. He also said Touray’s involvement in beating Koro to death was obvious.

“The prosecution evidence did not only prove that the accused person participated in the murder of Ousman Koro Ceesay, but also took part in the scheme to dispose off his body,” the Judge said. Justice Jaiteh further stated that evidenced indicated that Yankuba Touray, Edward Singhatey and Peter Singhatey burnt Koro Ceesay’s remains to cover up their evil act.

“The accused person and his co-conspirators ensured that no investigation took place in the past two decades,” Jaiteh said, questioning why there was no investigation carried out in the case if the perpetrators had nothing to hide. And to make the matter worse, those who attempted to investigate Koro’s murder were all dismissed from the service.

“The accused person took part in the burning of the body of the deceased Ousman Koro Ceesay to cover up their crime,” the Judge said. He said Touray’s intention was to conspire with others to cause the death of Koro Ceesay.

Justice Jaiteh dismissed the defence of alibi that Touray was not present at the scene. He said the court could not entertain defence of alibi that was not raised during police investigation. He was not equally convinced with the demeanour of the accused person, his sister-in-law Awa Minteh and wife Mamie Minteh during their testimony.

“Having found the convict Yankuba Touray guilty of murder of Ousman Koro Ceesay in cold blood and having considered that this court does not have any discretion under section 188 of the Criminal Code, the Convict Yankuba Touray is hereby sentenced to death. Pursuant to section 252 of the Criminal Procedure Code the said sentence shall be by hanging,” the Judge ruled, nailing the on the case.

Ends

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