By Ousman A. Marong
The Director General of the defunct National Intelligence Agency (NIA) now the State Intelligence Services (SIS), Ousman Sowe, confessed before the Truth Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) that the NIA were overstepping their operational activities.
Sowe, who worked at the NIA for a long time before becoming its head, denied ever having knowledge or any connection with the arrest and detention of Lamin Kabou, an employee of the National Drug Enforcement Agency (NDEA).
“The primary role of the NIA was to arrest and conduct investigations in order to establish the truth. I did not lead the arrest on Lamin Kabou. He was invited to the NIA where he was subsequently arrested and detained. We got information that some drugs were brought into the country from Guinea Bissau and we further received information that some NDEA officers together with some senior officers were complicit,” he explained.
Responding to the witness, lead Counsel Essa Faal put it to him that he wanted to dwell on the generalities and avoid the particularities.
“If you want to do it this way, we would take longer time and we would not proceed or achieve the objective. The notorious fact is that the NIA was more like a private institution meant to brutalize people,” Faal said.
He continued: “Your staff are to come and testify and you should set the record straight so that some of them may not try to adopt the same thing. Such would not be helpful to the Commission,” he advised.
The Lead Counsel concluded by assuring the witness that he (the witness) would be well advised in order to answer certain questions directly.
“It would not be pleasant sitting down the whole day here trying to cross-examine your on banal issues,” concluded Lead Counsel Faal.