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Assets Recovery faces court today

Last week, the Supreme Court halted all seizure [of assets] by the Assets Recovery and Property Retrieval Taskforce after the seizure of vehicles operated by some former officials, including immediate past Police Chief Col. Patrick T. Sudue.

Monrovia, April 1, 2024: Liberia’s Assets Recovery and Property Retrieval Taskforce is expected to appear before Associate Justice Yussif D. Kaba today, April 1, 2024, based on his order halting the Taskforce’s asset seizure operations.

Gracious Ride, through its manager Francis T. Blamo, petitioned the Supreme Court last week for a writ of prohibition against the Asset Recovery Task Force headed by Cllr. Edwin Kla Martin.

Following the petition, the Justice in Chambers, Cllr. Kaba, cited the Taskforce and the rival party for a conference on Monday, 1 April 2024, at 11:00 a.m. in connection with the case.

The communication ordering the Taskforce to stay its assets seizure operations is addressed to Liberia’s Justice Minister and Attorney General Cllr. Oswald Tweh.

Justice Kaba also ordered the Taskforce to release all vehicles seized and stay all seizures pending the conference’s outcome.

The Gracious Ride vehicles were released over the weekend, setting the stage for a hearing today.

President Joseph Nyumah Boakai’s administration has been struggling to retrieve government assets from former officials who refused to relinquish them while exiting public offices through its Assets Recovery and Property Retrieval Taskforce.

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Last week, the Taskforce seized a vehicle operated by former Liberia National Police (LNP) Inspector General Col. Patrick T. Sudue.

The vehicle marked A610540 was impounded in Sinkor during the Taskfroce’s operation on Wednesday, 27 March 2024.

However, it was later released to Col. Sudue, following instructions from the General Services Agency (GSA) Taskforce.

Upon the seizure of Col. Sudue’s vehicle, reports said the authorities had deployed officers to escort him to his destination via the seized vehicle, but with a mandate that the officers assigned should ensure that the vehicle returned to remain under custody pending further notice.

However, the former Police Chief claimed that he bought the vehicle from the Government’s official assets management entity-GSA at a depreciating cost.

The Boakai administration has complained that some officials from the previous regime of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) )-led government looted their offices before leaving and even failed to turn over government vehicles.

It allegedly posed challenges to the new government regarding the availability of vehicles to aid government work.

The Assets Recovery Team has been charged with retrieving vehicles and ensuring that the acquisition of questionable wealth by former and current officials can be addressed legally.

More development could unfold during its operation, as public perception of corruption remains high against Liberian officials, past and present.

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