By Ousainou J. Sawaneh (Prince OjeE)
Continuing his testimony at the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission yesterday, the Director General of State Intelligence Services, formally called the National Intelligent Agency (NIA)SIS, Ousman Sowe told the Truth Commission that he accept tampering WITH evidence, by transforming the nature of the torture chambers. The Chief Intelligent Officer agrees with the Lead Counsel that the NIA is used as a torturing center during the former regime.
Speaking before the Commission, Sowe said it is true that there were torture chambers at the NIA, which he said was use to torture people. He narrated that this chambers is a house with an iron bed , which was firmly fix to the walls so that it cannot move. NIA Boss confessed that the color of the house is red , and that there were shackles in it.
Gambia’s Intelligence Chief, further said after being appointed by the recent government, as the director general of the SIS, he instructed for the iron bed in the torture chambers to be cut off and painted the walls from red to white color and change it to an office.
Lead Council Essa M. Faal intervene saying that “do you agree by doing that, you are removing all the evidence of torture, and you concealed the torture chambers to a simple office” Counsel further told the witness that “you have transformed the nature of the room, and you tampered with the evidence” Faal told Sowe
In his respond SIS Boss claim he did know that removing a torture bed and painting a torture chamber at the National Intelligence Agency was tampering with evidence, but he later told the Truth Commission he agrees tampering evidence.
“I didn’t do it with the motive of tampering of evidence, and as far as I am concerned, I don’t know it was an evidence. If I had known this is how it had to be, then I would not have touched it. Yes I agree tampering with evidence” he told the Commission
Further speaking on the talk true machine, a machine that was for torturing of people, DG Sowe said the Talk True Machine at the NIA was said to be used in investigation.
Faal further intervene saying the witness should not say, “the machine is said to be use in investigations” but instead should say “it is use for torture” Faal said
Witness Sowe explained that, the talk true machine is a machine he use to hear of but he never saw it until 2003. He said
Counsel Faal again told the witness that , after working in the institution for 12 years , and yet you have not seen the machine and you want to Commission to believe that? He asked. Don’t try to be a fish to sleep through, Faal said.
Faal asked “did you see the direct tortures of people?”
SIS DG responded “I never use the machine and I don’t remember my unit using that machine” he told the Commission.
Sowe was one time lead investigator, gathering evidence before he became Director General of the Agency.
Ousman Sowe, Director of the National Intelligence Services (NIA) told the TRRC that he has worked in various sections of the NIA from analysis, investigations and external security departments, before serving as permanent sectary at the office of the President. Sowe said he was the first badge of employee of the NIA in 1995. Director Sowe was testifying before the Truth Commissions.