By Winston W. Parley
The head of pressure group Economic Freedom Fighters of Liberia (EFFL), Emmanuel Gonquoi has been ordered arrested by the Monrovia City Court on multiple charges including terroristic threat, simple assault, felonious restraint, and disorderly conduct.
The court issued a writ of arrest last week based on a complaint filed by the Republic of Liberia through the Ministry of Justice, accusing Gonquoi and his EFFL group of violently attacking the gate of the Capitol Building opposite the Executive Mansion, beating and inflicting injuries on security guards assigned there.
Prosecutors informed the court that on 21 July 2021 at about 5:30 a.m., Gonquoi and other defendants dressed in red T-shirts who were said to have come from the EFFL went on the premises of the Capitol Building with violence and attacked the gate.
They accuse Gonquoi of allegedly raining insults publicly and intentionally breaking the lock before installing EFFL’s own chains with locks. Prosecutors alleged that EFFL had the intent to terrorize the public and staff at the Capitol.
They noted that the alleged act of the defendants was unlawful, wicked, illegal, violent, and intentional in violation of multiple provisions of the New Penal Law of Liberia.
In July Gonquoi and few members of his EFFL group stormed the Legislature at dawn, calling on Legislators to return US$30,000 received by each of them for Legislative engagements.
Following the alleged attack at the Capitol, the Sergeant-at-Arms at the House of Representatives, General Martin Johnson, on 28 July called for the arrest of Mr. Gonquoi.
Gen. Johnson told this paper via mobile phone that he received a call from officers of the Legislative Security Service, complaining of some men dressed in red and black, allegedly led by Gonquoi, of locking the gate of the Capitol. He said the security officers informed him that the men fled the scene when a call was placed for backup.
While he faces multiple charges alleged by prosecutors, Mr. Gonquoi on 3 August 2021 said that EFFL planned legal action against the Legislature as a test of the independence of the judicial system here, saying the group was seeking restitution of over US$3m disbursed among lawmakers.
He added that EFFL was consulting with stakeholders- civil society organizations, student groupings, women and marketers, and ordinary citizens to brainstorm on their quest to test the independence of the judiciary here.