A young Gambian national said he was paid sixty thousand dalasis (D60,000) by the exiled Gambian dictator Yahya Jammeh to fabricate coup allegations against General Lang Tombong Tamba and co, Freedom Newspaper can reveal. Tamba was the former Gambian Chief of Army Defense Staff (CDS). He was arrested in 2009 and accused of plotting to overthrow Jammeh’s regime. He was subsequently sentenced to death together with his co convicts. The star witness in Tamba’s treason trial, Ebrima Marreh, has been talking to this reporter. Ebrima Marreh has alleged that he was used by dictator Yahya Jammeh, the former police chief Essa Badjie, the former Solicitor General Pa Harry Jammeh and others in the former administration to fabricate false coup allegations against General Tamba and co.
“Money was given to us after these people were sentenced. We were given money, it is true. We were paid D60,000 dalasis after the trial. The late Benedict Jammeh handed the money to us in the presence of Pa Harry Jammeh, the former Solicitor General, the late Pa Mbye, and Foday Barry. They were present when we received the money,” Marreh told me.
The second witness in that treason trial was Roui Jabbi Gassama, a Bissau Guinean national. He was brought into the country, provided accommodation and security together with Marreh, while Tamba and co’s case was being adjudicated in court.
Gassama was the witness, who implicated Gibril Ngorr Secka, a former Gambian diplomat at The Gambian Embassy in Guinea Bissau.
Marreh said both him and Roui Jabbi Gassama, were paid to lie to against Tamba and co. He said prior to the arrest of General Tamba and co, he had separate meetings with Essa Badjie, Pa Harry Jammeh, and Gorro Gibba, the former GPA managing Director to discuss the plot to incriminate Tamba and co.
Marreh said he wasn’t keen at cooperating with the state to make up lies against Tamba and co. But he said, he was forced by Jammeh’s assassin team called the jungulars to fabricate lies against the coup suspects.
“I was brutally tortured by the jungullars while I was detained at the NIA. They insisted that I must make up a lie that General Tamba wanted to overthrow President Jammeh’s government. They wanted me to implicate Lang and co in a coup that never existed. They threatened to kill me if I didn’t comply with their demands. In order to save my life, I complied. But to be honest with you, Lang Tombong, has never plotted to overthrow Jammeh. Jammeh was afraid of him. He thought that if he should sack him, the army might retaliate, hence he and Jesus Badjie decided to fabricate a lie of a coup that never existed. I was used to lie against Lang and others,” he said.
He said he was tortured by Micheal Correa, Fansu Nyabally, and Modou Jarju, AKA Rambo. His eyes were covered, a plastic bag was tied on his face, while being tortured, he said.
Marreh said he is now impotent because of the torture meted out to him. He is also battling with other diseases.
Marreh also alleged that the former Nigerian born Director of Public Prosecution Richard Chenge was also complicit in false coup charges against Tamba and co. He said he and Gassama were allegedly coached by the DPP to lie in court to have Tamba and co sentenced.
Chenge has in a recent interview denied coaching any witnesses to lie against Tamba and co. He said he has done his job professionally while under the employment of The Gambian government.
Marreh wants to testify before Gambia’s truth Commission, but he is afraid. He said he risked being attack by Jammeh’s loyalists, particularly the people in Foni. He is a native of Foni, Jammeh’s birth region.
Marreh claimed that it was Essa Badjie, who implicated Modou Gaye, the former Deputy Inspector General of police. He said Gaye hasn’t done anything that should warrant his arrest.
Badjie was later arrested together with businessman Sillahba Samateh, and accused of defaming the President’s image, that Jammeh was working with drug traffickers.
According Marreh, the late Benedict Jammeh was Badjie’s foe. Benedict was the DG of the National Drug Enforcement Agency at the time. He recalled Benedict reporting Badjie to Jammeh.
Essa Badjie has branded Ebrima Marreh as a pathological liar during his testimony at the TRRC. He has accused Marreh of orchestrating his arrest.
Marreh said he wants to meet Gen. Tamba and apologize to him. ” I am afraid to visit him. I owe him an apology. I was used to lie against him. Lang was never part of any coup,” he said.
Marreh said he was a former secret agent for the NIA. He said he has worked with Jammeh’s jungullars during their operations to execute citizens. But he wouldn’t tell us a particular operation that he witnessed. “I used to conduct surveillance for the jungullars before their executions. I monitor people for them, I would gather the intelligence, write my report and pass it to them,” he said.
Marreh had once lived at General Tamba’s home. He admits that while living at the General’s home, he was there to spy at him.
Marreh lives in Bijilo. We last spoke to him in December of 2020. He has promised to get back to us after giving evidence at the TRRC. Though, he is yet to testify.
For more on this story, please tune into our prime time Leral show.