Liberian police investigators say opposition presidential candidate Sen. George Weah’s Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) partisans Jefferson Koijee and Sheik Sackor had “persistent and consistent” mobile phones communication with self - proclaimed assassin George Barry (alais Ivorian) beyond 18 August, prior to launching campaign on Saturday, 19 August.
Police launched an investigation after suspect Barry and accomplices Oldpa Weh (alais Long John) and Mustapha Sesay claimed they were hired along with a Russian assassin by Defense Minister Brownie Samukai and businessman George Kailondo on ruling Unity Party (UP) presidential candidate Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai’s mandate to kill Sen. Weah on 19 August.
“... [The] investigation is of the opinion that suspect Barry, alais Ivorian, Olpa Weh, alais Long John and Mustapha Sesay, would have been hypnotized with those CDC Partisans, who were in communications with them prior to, including and after the arranged press conference, or they concocted and tailored the assassination story to win hearts of CDCians detrimental to the peace of the Liberian People and Sub Region,” the police say.
During meeting with Mr. Kailondo, the report indicates that no discussion relative to Vice President Boakai, Defense Minister Samukai and Sen. Weah was held, opposed to what has been alleged here.
On Tuesday, 12 August, suspects Barry, Weh and Sesay were taken to the Monrovia City Court on police charges of criminal malevolence, false public alarm, false statement, false report to law enforcement official and disorderly conduct to face trial.
A detailed review of the police report dated 10 September shows that rather than being in contact with those that had allegedly hired the assassins to kill Mr. Weah, the suspects were instead in persistent communication with CDC’s Koijee and Sackor for weeks before the party launched its rally on 19 August.
The report further details that Mr. Sackor was in frequent contacts with the suspects via Barry’s contact from 9 August to 25 August. Based on a communication chart released by police investigators, calls coming from Sheik Sackor to George Barry amounted to 18 just between 9 August and 25 August; while calls originating from Barry to Sheik amounted to 10, from 18 August to 25 August.
The call chart further shows that calls originating from Mr. Koijee to Barry amounted 7 calls between 13 August and 28 August. Police did not say what was being discussed between the self - proclaimed assassins and the CDCians, but they however revealed that CDC’s Koijee had conversation with suspect Barry while the assassin was in police custody.
On the eve of CDC’s campaign rally, police found that Koijee called suspect Barry in the evening of 18 August but the suspect did not pick the call. When Koijee made further effort to contact the assassins through Mustapha and succeeded, police indicate that Barry ordered Mustapha to shut up and shouldn’t disclose their location to Koijee.
Troubled by Koijee and Sackor’s repeated calls, police say suspect Barry clearly told the CDCians that they were no longer going to meet with them “because they wanted to kill them (Ivorian, Mustapha and Long John)”.
When the relations with the CDCians became sour, suspect Barry (Ivorian) is said to have called Police Deputy Inspector General for Operations Col. Abraham Kromah to report that some CDCians were hunting them.
In a verbal statement to the police investigators, suspect Long John denied having any discussion with Mr. George Kailondo to assassinate Sen. Weah, noting that on 18 August, Mr. Kailondo had only asked him to mobilize and encourage friends to wear UP T- Shirts to attend a jamboree at UP’s headquarters.
Having earlier being engaged by UP’s Montserrado County District #7 representative candidate Emmanuel Dahn to mobilize voters, the report says suspects Barry, Weh and Sesay were on 18 August given 100 pieces of UP T - shirts by Mr. Kailondo for distribution with UP partisans.
The suspects instead took the UP T-shirts to CDC headquarters on 23 August and held a press conference. According to the report, the CDC did not initially report assassination plot to law enforcement officials against Mr. Weah until five days later. Police say CDC’s Koijee and Sackor gave statements of denial during the investigation.
By Winston W. Parley-Edited by Othello B. Garblah