Startling Revelations at Justice Wowo Trial

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By Rabiatou Jallow

wowoThe Special Criminal Court in Banjul was stunned into silence, shock and disbelief this afternoon 17 December 2013 when Justice Joseph Wowo continued his defence, with shocking revelations about the trial judge Justice Emmanuel Nkea. The disgraced former Chief Justice specifically accused Justice Nkea of corruption and greed for money.

Mr. Wowo, who is standing trial on a multiple-count charge of abuse of office, told the stunned court that he would never get a fair trial in the hands of Justice Nkea.

“One of the charges against me is that I occupied the Office of Chief Justice illegally. The prosecution witness Belford has testified to that. He also testified that I renewed the contract of Justice Emmanuel Nkea, the sitting judge in my trial, when I was the acting Chief Justice of the Republic of The Gambia. If the prosecution says that I have a prima facie case to answer, then Justice Nkea has to step down as the trial judge in this case because I am going to call him as one of my witnesses in this case. He cannot be a judge and a witness at the same time.”

He continued: “Illegality cannot give birth to validity. If I occupied the Office of Chief Justice illegally then all the actions I took in that capacity are also illegal, including the renewal of Justice Nkea’s contract. It also follows that all the actions, decisions and judgments that Justice Nkea has taken since the renewal of his contract by a supposed illegal Chief Justice are null and void. “

On while he would never get a fair trial in the court of Justice Nkea, Jusice Wowo explained: “When I became the Acting Chief Justice, my predecessor Justice Agim asked me to follow up on the petition of corruption against Justice Nkea because such practices expose the entire judiciary to ridicule. Justice Agim said that the Director of Public Prosecutions had filed a petition of corruption against Justice Nkea to which he had not responded. When I took over, I followed up on the issue with Justice Nkea. It was shortly after that I was removed as acting Chief Justice and even when I was recalled, I also followed up on the issue. This was the beginning of the bad blood between me and Justice Nkea.”

At this point, Justice Nkea was red in the face and threatened to send Justice Wowo’s friends, relatives and sympathizers to Mile 2 if they disrupted his court.

Justice Wowo continued: “A particular case is that of the State v Mbacke where the sum of 30, 000 Dalasis was kept in an envelope and given to Justice Nkea. Unfortunately, Justice Nkea was not in chambers when the envelope arrived. So it was given to the court clerk. When Justice Nkea came, the court clerk gave him the envelope, which he pocketed.”

He added: “I challenge His Lordship to give a court order for me to the necessary evidence to back up these allegations.”

Justice Nkea however declined to grant Justice Wowo’s request. He also told Justice Wowo that he would not record his testimony.

Justice Nkea is notorious for treachery. Sometime ago at the Faculty of Law of the University of The Gambia, he asked the then Dean of the Faculty of Law Dr Abubakar Senghore (now Minister of Foreign Affairs) that he needed one of his peer-reviewed articles for a PhD he was doing. After Dr Senghore gave him the said article, Justice Nkea took parts of the article and gave them to the NIA who invited Dr Senghore for interrogation. If Dr Senghore had not been lucky, he would have been in real trouble.

Justice Wowo continues his cross-examination on December 18. He is expected to spill more beans in court.

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