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Politics News

Ex-U.S. soldier makes bribery claims

Retired U.S. Soldier Abraham Sanayoko says he encountered problems with Liberia Revenue Authority or LRA officials “soliciting bribe” from him when he came here to clear from the Freeport of Monrovia his building materials intended for his Liberian – based home situated in Thinkers Village.

“I therefore, reported to the LRA. The reason that I reported the bribe is because of the line of work that I have been doing which forbids the payment of bribe”, the retired U.S. soldier testified Wednesday, 24 May at the Criminal Court “C” in Monrovia.

State lawyers are prosecuting defendants Joseph Weeks and Linda Sumowood for economic sabotage, bribery and criminal facilitation, after witness Sanayoko accused them of collecting US$500.00 from him so that in return he wouldn’t have to pay an alleged US$2,352.91 that they claim he owed government.

The retired U.S. soldier Mr. Sanoyoko claims that defendant Weeks collected US$500.00 bribe from him in the latrine at the Port because the defendant insisted that he did not like transacting business in the hallway due to the availability of CCTV cameras.

Minutes after allegedly giving defendant Weeks the US$500.00 in the latrine, witness Sanayoko claims that the accused became subject of arrest, creating a riot between brokers and LRA agents which saw Port police intervention.

Mr. Sanayoko who says he retired from the U.S. Military after 25 years of active Federal Service, has narrated that he purchased all the furniture in the U.S. for his Liberian – based home, put them in a forty – foot container and shipped them to Liberia.

“We usually receive quarterly ethics training in dealing with third world countries and that training was instill in me. Therefore when anyone solicits bribe from me is therefore reported”, Mr. Sanayoko adds.

He says he and his wife have built a home in Liberia and have been bringing their children here “to know where their parents came from”, adding, “Our home here in Liberia is our second home away from home”.

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Witness Sanayoko claims that defendant Weeks was demanding US$1,000 from him for reassessment which would have stated “no additional payment”, instead of US$2,300 earlier announced by the accused.

The witness claims he had told the accused that he could only give US$350, but alleges that the indictee refused to accept the money on grounds that it was small and he had to give his boss that he only identified as “Zayzay” to get the reassessment approved.

But after negotiations failed, Mr. Sanayoko says he reported the matter to the LRA, and subsequently referred to the institution’s security consultant to whom he explained what had transpired. The case continues Thursday, 25 May at the Temple of Justice.

By Winston W. Parley

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