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PW1 Says Kumba Sinyan Screamed When She Saw Lamarana’s Body

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Kumba Sinyan at the Court House

By Landing Ceesay

The murder trial of Kumba Sinyan begins at the Banjul High Court today before Justice Sidi Jobarteh, and the Deputy Superintendent of Police, Foday Conta, appeared as the first Prosecution Witness (PW1) in the highly charged murder trial.

During his testimony, Deputy Superintendent Foday Conta, who is also the Station Officer at the Bakau Police Station, told the High Court that Kumba Sinyan (the accused person) screamed when she saw Momodou Lamarana Jallow’s (deceased) body lying on the floor of the hostel room where he was killed.

PW1 testified that he has been a Police Officer for 11 to 12 years now and that at the time of the incident his rank was Assistant Superintendent of Police but has since been promoted to the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police.

PW1 further told the Court that he is the Station Officer at the Bakau Police Station and the Commander of the Task Force on the night the incident happened.

The witness testified to the Court that he recognizes the accused person (Kumba Sinyan). He testifies that he met the accused person at her home in Bakau New Town on the 14th of September 2022 at about 03:50 am, when he went to the accused person’s home upon receiving a telephone call from one of his subordinates that there was a murder incident at the Friendship Hostel.

PW1 said, upon hearing about the incident, he boarded a vehicle as the Task Force commander and rushed to the place with his men.

The witness further testified that upon arrival at the Hostel and entering the reception room, they found a few people there, and among them were the receptionists. He said one of the receptionists showed them a room, which is room 111. 

PW1 told the court that he then opened the door and saw a motionless body on the floor in a pool of blood.

“After seeing the body, I then tried to prevent people from entering. I called the CRO officer who is an expert on fingerprinting and evidence collection to come and check the scene. After about 15 minutes, the CRO officer arrives at the hostel. He supplied us with personal protection equipment and led the collection of evidence,” PW1 told the court.

The witness testified that among the evidence they collected, is a wallet containing visa cards, bearing the name Momodou Lamarana Jallow. They also found two filters of cigarettes, and a shaving stick which was detached. They also found a pillow on Momodou Lamarana Jallow’s stomach.

“Then we lifted the pillow and saw his stomach was cut, and his intestine was out, and he was half naked. There was a black cloth in his mouth. After doing the evidence collection, we tried to figure out who might be responsible. The first thing my mind went on is to check the CCTV camera, and we ask the receptionist to help us. But unfortunately, it was not functioning,” he testified.

PW1 further explained to the court that they also checked the record book of the hostel, which led them to the suspect.

PW1 said he called the receptionists to discuss with them, but one of them volunteered and went to him and then asked whether he could talk to him (PW1).

He said that’s when the said receptionist revealed to him that he knows who killed the motionless body.

PW1 informs the court that the receptionist told him that the name is Kumba Sinyan, and she lives in Bakau New town.

“I insisted and asked him whether he really knew what he was saying. He assured me that he knew Kumba Sinyan very well. We boarded my vehicle and went out to locate the suspect. Upon arriving at her home, we were directed to their compound. At their compound, I instructed one of my subordinates to scale the fence and open the gate. After opening the gate, I made sure that I position all my men. Then I and two other officers knocked on the door. A lady came and who it was. I told her that it was the police. She complained that the way we knock on the door is heavy. I apologized to her, and she let us inside,” PW1 told the Court.

PW1 said he asked the lady about the whereabouts of Kumba Sinyan. The lady pointed them to Kumba’s house. He said as they proceed towards the house, someone alerted from the house, and upon calling Kumba’s name, and the person answered in the affirmative in a cool voice.

PW1 testified that he told Kumba that she was under arrest. Kumba responded with “for what”. To which he (PW1) told her when she arrives at the Police Station she will know and assured her that she is in safe hands.

PW1 further testified that there was a lady whom he later found out is Kumba Sinyan’s Aunty who asked whether she could go with them, and he told her no problem. He said at one point he even told Kumba’s Aunt to call a lawyer if she has one.

PW1 said instead of going to the Police Station they went back to the hostel this time with Kumba, and she asked, “where are we going, I think you told us that we are going to the police station.”

PW1 said he told the accused that he wanted to show her something at the hostel before going to the Police Station.

 PW1 testified that when they arrived at the hostel, he asked Kumba to surrender her phone and she surrendered her phone to him. The witness said he asked her to unlock the phone and remove the password, after removing the password he testifies to seeing Lama’s name on top of her recent call log. And then that’s where they believe that she must be connected somehow to the murder. 

The witness said upon arriving at the hostel, it was raining heavily, and they came down from the vehicle, but Kumba told them that she could not come down because she doesn’t want her hair to be wet. 

PW1 said, then they covered her and went straight to room 111. He told the court he was holding Kumba’s hand, and immediately they approached room 111 Kumba’s hand started trembling in his hand. 

“When I open the door, I confront Kumba with the body, and immediately she screamed “my boyfriend.” I ask her whether she knew him, and she said he is her boyfriend, Lama. I asked her how she knows he is the one when he is lying in a pool of blood and his face is turned backwards, with a cloth in his mouth, and she is 3 meters away from him. Then she froze,” the Witness told the Court. 

PW1 testified that Kumba then asked whether she can touch the body, but he said no because he believed that she would destroy evidence if she touched him. 

“Then I took her to the Police Station in Bakau, where we opened a case file as usual. We waited until the following morning and took the file to the serious crime unit for further investigation,” he told the court. 

Kumba Sinyan is indicted for the alleged killing of her ex-boyfriend, contrary to section 187 of Criminal Code Cap: 10:01 Revised Laws of the Gambia 2009.  She, however, pleaded not guilty to the murder charge.

The Particulars of Offence stated that Kumba Sinyan on or about the 14th of September 2022 at Friendship Hostel in Bakau, Kanifing Municipality of the Republic of the Gambia within the jurisdiction of the High Court of the Gambia with malice aforethought caused the death of one Lamarana Jallow by cutting his stomach with an object and thereby committed an offence punishable with death under section 188 of the Criminal Code Cap: 10:01 Revised Laws of the Gambia 2009.

Senior State Counsel A. Jarju represented the State, while Counsel S. Twum represented the accused person in the case. 

The case is before Justice Sidi K. Jobarteh of the High Court of the Gambia. 

Justice Jobarteh adjourned the case until Friday, November 18th, at 10 am, for cross-examination of the witness. 

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