[bsa_pro_ad_space id=1]

GeneralLiberia news

Court subpoena NewDawn publisher

-Over TRH US100M drug busts article

A Court in Monrovia has summoned the NewDawn newspaper publisher Mr. Othello B. Garblah, after his paper raised questions in its 13 February 2023 edition as to why only trading company TRH’s containers were being used by drug traffickers.

In its special column called “On Second Thoughts,” the NewDawn newspaper, one of Liberia’s leading local dailies, reported that the government through the Liberia Drugs Enforcement Agency (LDEA) had swiftly cleared the Lebanese conglomerate TRH Trading Corporation of any link to a US$37m drug syndicate.

In that column, this paper indicated that the government had cleared TRH in the US$37m drug syndicate just as it did earlier during a US$100 million drug bust before the suspects could even be arrested.

Over two months after the publication, the Criminal “C” in Monrovia on Tuesday, 25 April 2023 subpoenaed Mr. Garblah, NewDawn newspaper, to appear before it on Wednesday, 26 April 2023.

The court ordered that Mr. Garblah appears at 10:00 a.m. at the Temple of Justice on Capitol Hill to produce and testify to the NewDawn’s publication of 13 February 2023 on the importation of the drugs into Liberia.

Additionally, the court ordered its clerk to inform Mr. Garblah, NewDawn newspaper, that upon his failure to appear, produce and testify to the case, he will be held in contempt of court for his disobedience to its order.

“You are further ordered to inform Mr. Othello Garblah, NewDawn newspaper, that upon his failure to appear, produce and testify to the above-mentioned case, the Court will be left with no other alternative but to hold him in Contempt of Court for his disobedience to the Order of the Court,” the writ of subpoena reads.

The case is Before Judge A. Blamo Dixon, Resident Circuit Judge Presiding at the Criminal Court “C”.

[bsa_pro_ad_space id=1]

The Government of Liberia thru the Ministry of Justice is the plaintiff in the case, while Malam Conte, Abdulai Djibri Djalo, Makki Admeh Issam and Oliver A. Zayzay are the defendants.

They are charged with money laundering, unlicensed possession of controlled drugs, unlicensed importation of controlled drugs, and criminal conspiracy.

On Second Thoughts, the NewDawn newspaper in its February 13, 2023 edition, published that during the previous week, an LDEA official had linked a US$37 million worth of cocaine discovered in a TRH Trading Corporation consigned container at the country’s main port to an unknown Kenyan trafficker.

In the special column, Mr. Garblah noted that though investigation into the bust was still ongoing, the government had cleared TRH Trading Corporation of any link to the drug syndicate.

It added that the government did the same during a US$100 million drug bust even before the suspects could be arrested, though the cocaine was found in TRH’s container.

On Second Thoughts, this paper recalled that on 1 October 2022, cocaine worth US$100 million was found in TRH Trading Corporation’s rented warehouse off the Japanese Freeway near Tonpoe Village in Gardnerville.

But before the suspects could even be rounded up and charged, Justice Minister Cllr. Musa Dean had hailed TRH, a subsidiary of Abijoudi \AJA Group as the whistleblower while naming three foreign nationals as suspects.

This paper noted that the repeated discoveries of cocaine in TRH/AJA Group consigned containers and government’s immediate clearance of the company, and describing the owners as whistleblowers, seemed to beg more questions than answers.

It left the paper to wonder whether this immediate clearance of TRH had to do with the special business relationship it has with the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) Government-the special tax privileges.

For the record, this paper reported, TRH/AJA has been clearing its consignments from the port without going through inspection like the majority of the businesses here do.

They just use invoices and bills of landing. The NewDawn added that this loose way of clearing their containers from the port, many believe may have motivated the drug to be imported by or through them.

The government, thru the Liberia Revenue Authority, has publicly defended here that disparity in inspecting contents of containers brought at the Freeport of Monrovia that allowed TRH Trading Corporation loaded cocaine containers to leave the port without any check is part of its Post Clearance Audit program.

The Post Clearance Audit Program, according to the LRA, is a universal trade facilitation tool in customs that allows relatively compliant importers access to expeditious clearance subject to review subsequently.

“No wonder TRH is the only company here whose containers have been targeted to be used to transport cocaine here,” the column continued.

From the last two busts, the argument appeared to be true because TRH/AJA Group is the only importer whose consignment has often been loaded with contraband substances, and yet the government keeps treating the Lebanese conglomerate as whistle-blowers.

[bsa_pro_ad_space id=1] [bsa_pro_ad_space id=2] [bsa_pro_ad_space id=3] [bsa_pro_ad_space id=4] [bsa_pro_ad_space id=5] [bsa_pro_ad_space id=6]
Back to top button