GBARNGA: President George Manneh Weah, at the close of his campaign tour in Bong County, Central Liberia, categorically rejected claims that his Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) led government is involved in illicit drugs trafficking.
President Weah, addressing mass citizens rally in Gbeniquelleh District, Bong County, said the issue of illicit drugs is an age-old problem that continues to confront the Liberian nation.
President Weah added that his administration has done more to halt the smuggling of illicit drugs in the country.
Weah pointed out that he has been involved in anti-drugs fight even during his Professional Football era and now as President of Liberia.
Amid chants by hundreds of ‘CDCians’ and ‘Weahcians,’ the Liberian leader expressed his unwavering commitment to the raging fight against illicit drugs in the country.
President Weah’s assertions were in apparent reaction to some opposition leaders’ call for him (Weah), to be held primarily responsible for the growing wave of illicit drugs being smuggled into Liberia and impacting the predominately the country’s youthful population.
He told citizens in Bong that such illicit drugs claims against him (Weah) are misleading and that they are mere propaganda being spread by the some opposition politicians to gain undue political capital.
President Weah disclosed that drugs have been in Liberia since he was a child. “People called it ‘Ten-Ten, then,’” he added.
He recalled that the illicit drugs situation, in the past annoyed former President of Liberia, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who even threatened closing down the Palm Grove Cometary on Center/ Gurley Streets that were being used by drugs addicts.
The incumbent president further asserted that the opposition politicians are just lazy people, as such, they are using lies to fool the Liberian people during this campaign season.
At the same time, the Liberian Government, via the Ministry of Justice that chairs the Joint Security of Liberia, confirmed that the consignment of boxes it intercepted containing herbal plants -packaged and in natural form- at the Roberts International Airport reveals the presence of “methamphetamine.”
The Government said in a release issued on September 12, 2023, following media reports of illicit drugs importation via RIA that, as part of the Liberia Drugs Enforcement Agency’s investigation, which included “scientific examination, samples tested revealed the presence of illicit drug, which is banned under the rules of United Nations Office of Drugs and Crimes (UNODC).”
Justice Minister, Cllr. Frank Musah Dean Jr., has with immediate effect ordered the Joint Security of Liberia, as well as the LDEA, LNP and the NSA, to expand their investigations on the importation of the illegal drugs with the aim of bringing to justice all those involved.
However, reports surrounding the latest drugs saga suggest that the Ministry of Justice has declared the Prime Suspects in the recent Drugs scandal at the Roberts International Airport (RIA Drugs) wanted.
The suspended Director of Security at the Roberts International Airport, Samuel Freeman, and Sam Sayon (not NSA Deputy Director), but the Cargo Officer at Jos Travel, are the two prime suspects who are currently on the run, according to the government.
Both men are now wanted by the Liberia National Police (LNP) and the Liberia Drugs Enforcement Agency (LDEA) for alleged drugs trafficking, as their whereabouts remain unknown.
Jos Travel is the General Sales Agent for Kenya Airways, handling the airline’s tickets and cargo operations in Monrovia.
The Ministry of Justice’s statement comes at the time the Liberia National Police (LNP) and another state security agency have also identified the two (2) men as Prime Suspects.
The duo is believed to be at the heart of the illicit Methamphetamine drugs bust saga at the country’s main international airport (RIA).
The men are accused of playing key roles in the attempt to smuggle a substantial quantity of the illicit drug, Methamphetamine, through the country’s busiest international airport.
Freeman, who is the suspended Director of Security at the RIA, has earlier denied that the contents of the confiscated boxes, which he had attempted to smuggle from the tarmac of the airport through an unauthorized gate, were drugs.
The wanted security boss who allegedly linked an official at the Ministry of State denied on Monday. His denial was followed by customs officials from the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA), who in the presence of joint security, inspection of the boxes claimed that the contents of said boxes were moringa tea.
According to a test conducted by the Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency (LDEA), which has now joined the police to name Freeman as a prime suspect, the test results show illicit methamphetamine, a highly addictive drug.
The state’s declaration of both men as suspects in the airport drugs saga comes few hours after the customs office of the Liberia Revenue Authority at the airport was reportedly burglarized.
The alleged burglary happened at the time the government of Liberia admitted, for the first time, that the purported
ten boxes confiscated from Freeman contained highly addictive illegal drugs, contrary to their initial claims that said boxes contained moringa leaves meant for tea.
It is, however, unclear whether at the time of the reportedly burglary, the confiscated boxes were still within the premises of the RIA or had been relocated elsewhere.
However, the Communications Manager at the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA), Danicius Kaihenneh Sengbeh, said, the burglary may have happened during the early hours of Wednesday, September 13, 2023, as the alleged perpetrators gained unauthorized access to the customs office, and its examination hall.