By: E. Geedahgar Garsuah
MONROVIA: In its Thursday, June 8, 2023, sitting, the Plenary of the Lower House of Liberia’s bicameral Legislature has mandated its Committee on National Security to solicit additional evidence from the Liberia National Police (LNP) and the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) regarding the US$100 million drug importation saga in Liberia.
The House of Representatives’ Committee on National Security was also tasked by the House Plenary which is the highest decision-making body to gather information as to whether or not the Government of Liberia is finding another avenue that could result into the arrest of the real culprits in the drug saga.
This decision, according to Legislative insiders, suggests that the 73 members of the Lower House are not comfortable with the “Not Guilty Verdict” outcome of the much-publicized drug case, which has been viewed by observers as an unexpected break in Liberia’s fight against the trafficking of illicit drugs.
The House of Representatives investigation into the drug saga comes on the heels of the Supreme Court of Liberia trashing a petition filed by the Ministry of Justice which sought the nation’s highest court to mandate Criminal Court “C” to withdraw its “Not Guilty Verdict” against the defendants, who according to reports, have already absconded the country immediately after the verdict was announced.
In its petition, the Ministry of Justice, under the watch of Cllr. Frank Musah Dean as Minister and Attorney General of Liberia also sought the Supreme Court’s intervention to mandate the lower court (Criminal Court ‘C’) from giving back the US$113,000 the government said, it seized from the defendants, a request the Supreme Court of Liberia trashed in the legal dustbin.
According to the Supreme Court, there were no legal grounds to grant the Ministry of Justice its petition.
It can be recalled that in October, 2022, Liberia’s Joint Security Network, coordinating with the United States Embassy near Monrovia arrested 520 kilograms of cocaine with the street value of US$100 million.
The drugs, according to reports, were trafficked among several containers of frozen food imported to Liberia.
A Liberian, Oliver Zayzay, and three other foreigners, Makki Ahmed Issam, Adulai Djalo and Malam Conte were apprehended by state security while bidding to procure the container holding the cocaine.
The accused, upon preliminary investigation by the Liberia National Police, were charged and forwarded to court for the crimes of Money Laundering, Unlicensed Importation of Controlled Drugs, Criminal Conspiracy, and Unlicensed Possession of Controlled Drug.
After two-month long court proceedings at Criminal Court “C”, the ten jurors’ panel announced an undivided opinion which found the four defendants “Not Guilty” of committing any of the mentioned crimes.