According to the sister of the killed former finance minister Koro Ceesay, it was a routine for him to come home from work, a routine that ends in a long wait on June 23.
On Friday June 23, Gambia’s former self-style revolutionary Yahya Jammeh left the country for Ethiopia for African Union summit. As part of the people who went to see him off at the Banjul International Airport was Koro Ceesay.
On Ceesay’s to-do list that day was to come home for a local dish call “nan-nburr” that he has asked his family to prepare for him. They also bought for him his favourite fruit, Mango, according to his sister Bajen Ceesay-Jaiteh.
He so desired to come by from Airport but he never got the chance. A long wait by the family to receive him would be broken by the sad news that his charred remains was found in his burnt car along the Jambur Highway.
Koro’s sister Bajen who now resides in United States told the Truth Commission on Wednesday that the news devastated the family. Even more shocking, they have not received any information from Government on Koro’s death despite the fact that he was a state minister.
Bajen said since the early days of Koro’s murder, they have suspected that the military has a hand in it.
She said Koro himself had told their mother that Edward Singhateh threatened to kill him. He never took the threat seriously even though Captain Kambi would also later warn Koro to be careful of Edwrad because he is “ruthless”.
It was not clear though why Edward or any member of the Junta may want to kill Koro. However, witnesses before the Commission are now indicating that his death may have to do with the $35 million dollar loan agreement Gambia Government negotiated with the Exim Bank of Taiwan.
The loan was reportedly negotiated by Captain Ebou Jallow, the then spokesperson of the Junta. Reports indicated that that money was squandered and Koro intends to spill the beans during a budget speech he was preparing to make. It appeares for the Junta, Koro has become a lose end that must be taken care of with whatever he may have.
Though, Koro has not spoken to his family about the content of his budget speech but Bajen said he was excited that he did a good job. He even told them that they would be proud of him after his presentation.
Meanwhile, after his death, the former president Jammeh reportedly gave $100, 000 to former Council Members. Jammeh reportedly visited the family and promised to investigate the issue but never did.
Both Koro’s mother and father passed away in 2014. “Over the years my parents waited for justice for Koro’s murder but it never came,” said Bajen. She said one of the last discussion of her mother was about Koro.
Bajen said they have got unconfirmed reports that their brother was killed by Lt Yankuba Touray, Edward Singhateh and Peter Singhateh. This suspicion was corroborated by Alagie Kanyi who admitted involvement in his murder at Yunkuba Touray’s residence.
Bajen said Koro’s death has devastated the family, particularly his mother who got only him as a son.