D.S. Avent & D.I. McAteer: Memories from Togo

“At 1100 am that date (20 September 1990), Agent Craig Bates, Mr. Gurney, Detective Inspector McAteer and myself travelled to the Palace of the President of the Republic of Togo, Gnassinghe Eyedema (not a witness). We were shown two briefcases which had been modified to explosive devices by the addition of plastic explosive. These did not appear to be relevant to our enquiry.

We were also shown an electronic timer which was grey in colour and approximately 5″ x 3″ x 2″. This device was controlled by four black push buttons and bore the word FLASH’ on the front. This device did not appear to resemble the timer MST13 which we were looking for. I was present when Detective Inspector McAteer showed the President and his Chief of Police, Colonel Walla (not a witness) the Photographs of timer MST13.”

Detective Sergeant Peter Avent

DE33-P31_31When Avent and McAteer visited Togo in 1990, they showed a photo of an MT13 to the President of Togo, his chief of police Colonel Walla, and the army officer who had lead the investigation in 1986, ex-Colonel Assih.

[Note: McAteer’s statement (S3743Q) names two people as having led the investigation, Colonel Assih and a Colonel Meneme.]

All three men said that they had never seen such a device before and Assih went further, saying “that he did not recollect it as being the timer removed by the Americans.” (see S3743Q).

Colonel Meneme gave a statement (S5558) which was not made available to the defense.

Avent and McAteer were shown not one but two FLASH timers that were seized in 1986, which were nothing like MST-13s.

Keep in mind that there is no reference to such FLASH timers in the items listed in Sherrow’s FD302,  Casey’s FD302s and Casey’s report. Nor do they mention any “briefcases which had been modified to explosive devices by the addition of plastic explosive.”

D.S. Peter Avent took photographs of the timers, which he compiled in an album, DP92, which was not a production at the trial.

According to Avent’s precognition, DP92 includes four photos supplied by the police chief, Colonel Walla, which were extracted from “two photograph albums which had been mentioned by the Togolese since 1986”.

Avent also received a “Copy of the Togolese Report relating” to the arms seizures (DP358). Again, this was not a production.

Avent’s statement (S5388AW) includes the following, rather strange passage:

“In the presence of FBI Agent Craig Bates and Security Officer Dan Garner, I made notes of Mr. Memene’s replies to a number of prepared questions and subsequently transferred these replies into the format of a statement. This statement was read by Agent Bates who agreed that its contents was identical to his notes on Mr. Memene’s replies.

On completion of the interview, Agent Bates, Dan Garner and I were then taken to an office in the Military Compound where we were shown some items which the Togolese had omitted to display the previous day. Of these, the only item of significance was a Beretta handgun, Serial No. 326413, which Agent Bates stated he would attempt to trace the origin of.

In view of Mr. Memene’s response to being shown the Prod No. Photocopies of Photographs of timer MST13 (Label No. DP94) a request was made of Colonel Walla to re-interview Mr. Assih.

Colonel Walla agreed to do this, to supply the personal information and fingerprint cards for those arrested on 23 September, 1986 and also to make enquiry to establish if timer MST-13 was ever in Togo in 1985/1986.

By Monday 1 October, 1990 no response had been received in relation to these requests and I was instructed to return to the United Kingdom, which I did that evening.”

I think that we can all agree that something is seriously wrong with the story of the MST-13 timers discovered in Togo. Keep in mind that without this timer, PT/35(b) would  not have helped the investigators since it would never have been matched to a MST-13 MEBO timer.

Reference

Avent’s statement S5388AW

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