Since 2018, several Gambians including a former legal adviser for the State Intelligence Services, Boubacarr AMO Badjie, have expressed concerns that the renovation works at SIS could destroy certain evidences. Activists have called for the SIS headquarters to be designated a crime scene.
The Truth, Reconciliation and Reparation Commission has asked the director general of the National Intelligence Agency renamed State Intelligence Services (SIS) to halt renovation works on places within their headquarters that may be of interest to the Commission.
On February 15, the Truth Commission visited the headquarters of the onetime notorious SIS. The Commission visited various places including two investigation cells, staff clinic and an interrogation room.
Also visited was the infamous Banba Dinka, the SIS headquarters’ worst detention cell measuring about 3 by 2 meters.
“There were atrocities that were carried out here, brutalities from what the witnesses were saying…,” Lamin J Sise, Commission’s chair has said.
SIS has been having renovation works for about a year now. Institution’s director general, Ousman Sowe said it was just a rehabilitation exercise.
Sowe served the SIS for 24 years working there as both an analyst and head of investigations at various times.
“We have come with a cease and desist letter to request… you to stop transforming certain facilities of interest to the TRRC. If there is no transformation, don’t do any transformation,” said Essa Faal, Commisson’s lead counsel
“Has it ever been brought to your attention that this transformation that you embarked upon would have an impact on future investigations?” Asked Faal.
“No,” said Sowe.
Faal insisted that since “it is so obvious that this (SIS) will be the subject of inquiry, it behooves all responsible officials to ensure that such investigations will not be interfered with.
“And what would that interference mean? It would mean taking steps to conceal or destroy evidence—to ensure that the evidence that would be needed to prove rights violations that occurred in the past are not achieved.”