–Gov’t will come after you -Min. McGill
State and Presidential Affairs Minister Nathaniel F. McGill Sunday dared individuals bend on engaging in activities that will undermine the peace of the country saying, government will go after them.
“…people will not threaten the peace of the country and the government will sit down and look supinely. Government will go after people who threaten the peace,” Mr. McGill told the New Dawn after his press conference on Sunday March 21.
“…nobody will threaten the government and think the government will sit down. And…nobody and I dare anybody to say that you will throw stone or you fire gun and you will do anything here, the security will come after you. People have to account for their actions. Nobody is above the law.
“…because look, the Government obligation is to protect peace and security. When you make statement that have an adverse effect on the peace and security of the country, you will have to explain yourself.” Mr. McGill said as he made direct reference to the recent arson attack at the home of Associate Justice Joseph Nagbe and at the National Elections Commission (NEC) indicating that it was as a result of a statement made by the Secretary General of the former ruling Unity Party Mr. Mo Ali.
On March 1, 2021, Mr. Ali posted: “Dear National Elections Commission, we understand the ploy. But try it and you will see what is gonna be the end result.”
Mr. McGill believes that there is a possible link between Mr. Ali’s post on Facebook and the petrol bombs that were thrown at Justice Nagbe’s residence and offices of NEC days later presumably in connection to ongoing election disputes here.
“For instance,” he continued “when somebody say NEC will try to see the end result if NEC do something and two days, three days after people throw petrol bomb at NEC office, that man has to explain whether he mean it or he (did not) mean it. But some acted on your instructions.”
“Why if that man had destroyed and killed a lot of people that’s terroristic (act) because we don’t know who did it,” he queried.
“We could be sitting down here people throwing petrol bomb all over the place and people say we will deal with the government and we will do unspecified consequences. And right after that you start seeing unspecified- people go to the…Associate Justice house and throw petrol bomb.The man who made that statement the security people will have to call that man in for answer,” he added.
He warned that no matter the status of a person in government, when you commit crime, you will be held to account, whether you are elected or appointed official-Nobody is above the law. The opposition Unity Party has since issued a press statement in regard to the police invitation to their scribe inviting him for questioning. Full text of Press statement below.
March 20, 2021
UNITY PARTY OFFICIAL PRESS STATEMENT
On March 18, 2021, the Unity Party was informed by its National Secretary General, Mr. Mohammed Ali, of a phone text message received inviting him to the headquarters of the Liberia National Police(LNP), at 10am on March 19, for a conversation around a Facebook post he made on March 1, 2021. The post referenced in the text stated “Dear National Elections Commission, we understand the ploy. But try it and you will see what is gonna be the end result.” The government has alleged that consequent of Mr. Ali’s post, there have been incidents of petrol bombs thrown at the residence of Associate Justice Joseph Nagbe and the headquarters of the National Elections Commission for which they are inviting him to clarify the “motive and intent” of his post.
On March 19, 2021, representation was made on behalf of Mr. Ali by his lawyers through a communication duly delivered to the office of the Inspector General of the Liberia National Police requesting an excuse from the Friday, March 19 invite due to the ailment of the Secretary General, with a commitment to accompany him to the LNP’s headquarters on Monday, March 22, 2021 at 10am. In the letter signed by Cllr. Finley Y. Karngar and Cllr. MoiffieKenneh, they provided their individual contact numbers and email addresses should the LNP decide to contact them for further information. However, at about 2pm on March 19, four hours after receiving the letter from Mr. Ali’s lawyers, the same police declared Mr. Mohammed Ali “Wanted” and ordered his arrest. According to Mr. Moses Cater of the LNP, Mr. Ali was invited twice and he refused to show up. This is false. Mr. Ali was invited only once via a phone text message, an invitation he honored through his lawyers.
The Unity Party believes that the action of police contradicts the laws of Liberia and the rights of Mr. Ali, a law abiding citizen; this seem to be an attempt to intimidate and prosecute members of the opposition who have objectively spoken against socio-political ills as well as the censorship of views of the opposition through intimidation (as is being attempted in this case).
According to Chapter 1.5 of the Penal Law of Liberia, “ No conduct constitutes an offense unless it is a crime or infraction under [the penal law] or another statute of Liberia”. Therefore, the government cannot attempt to arrest Mr. Ali over a Facebook post without due process to establish any link between his post and that which the government alleges. In addition, Chapter 2.2.1 of the Criminal Procedure Law of Liberia provides an accused person the right to representation by legal counsels. As in the case of Mr. Ali, this representation requesting a postponement of the conference due to his medical condition was made by Cllr. Karngar and Cllr. Kenneh and therefore, the government cannot declare him “wanted” for failure to submit to their invitation when in fact he did through his lawyers as provided by law. The actions by the government to declare the National Secretary General of the Unity Party “wanted” without being charged with any crime is a violation of his rights and endangers him and his family. A “Wanted Person” also known as a “Fugitive from Justice” is a person that is either convicted or accused of a crime and is hiding from law enforcement in order to avoid arrest. Has Mr. Ali been convicted or accused of a crime? No, he was invited to provide the motive and intent of a Facebook post. Is he hiding from law enforcement in order to avoid arrest? No, there was never a Writ of Arrest out for Mr. Ali and he was represented by his lawyers as allowed by the law.
The Unity Party is an institution that respects the Law and individual rights of our citizens; if the government of Liberia is convinced and has evidence that Mr. Mohammed Ali’s Facebook post of March 1 has any link to the crimes being alleged, it should go ahead and press charges against him in accordance with the law. While we adjure the government to pursue the right and legal course and ensure the safety of Mr. Ali, the National Leadership and sympathizers of the Party will peacefully accompany him to the Liberia National Police Headquarters on Monday, March 22, 2021 at 10:00am.
Signed: Cornelia Kruah-Togba
National Assistant Secretary General for Press, Publicity and Outreach