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Liberia: Journalist, spouse face charges

After claiming to be ordered flogged by lawmaker

Police in Paynesville, Montserrado County have levied multiple charges against Liberian journalist Bettie Johnson – Mbayo and her husband Dr. Moses Mbayo along with one Joseph S. Kerkula, after police investigated reports of an altercation between the defendants and Bong County Representative Marvin Cole whom reports say the trio accused of allegedly ordering them flogged.

Paynesville City Court Stipendiary Magistrate William G. Saygah issued a writ of arrest against the three accused with charges ranging from felonious restraint, terroristic threats and disorderly conduct.

The Court cited multiple sections of the New Penal Code of Liberia which it said the accused have violated, thereby ordering that they be brought to answer the charges.

According to the writ of arrest, the Liberia National Police has charged Mrs. Johnson – Mbayo, Mr. Kerkula and Dr. Mbayo on the basis of an incident involving them and Rep. Cole on 15 January 2022.

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The writ of arrest said Dr. Mbayo unlawfully parked his vehicle in the driveway where Rep. Cole usually passed to go to his residence.

The court document alleges that when Dr. Mbayp was confronted to remove his vehicle, “principle – defendant Bettie Johnson” allegedly abused Rep. Cole that he is a mad man.

It is alleged in the court document that journalist Johnson – Mbayo took a stone and used it to hit Rep. Cole in his chest.

Additionally, the document alleges that Mr. Johnson S. Kerkulah removed his belt, held it in his hand with the intent of whipping Rep. Cole with it.

Prior to the charges levied by police here, it was reported that on Saturday evening, Journalist Bettie Johnson-Mbayo, and her spouse Dr. Moses Mbayo along with the principal of St. Simon Baptist school were ordered beaten by the Bong County representative, Marvin Cole.

According to reports, the three were beaten after representative Cole questioned the parking of the journalist and her spouse’s vehicle beside his fence.

It was alleged that Rep. Cole had stated that the outside of his fence is not meant to be a parking lot for anyone. The incident was said to have occurred when the trio went to sympathize with a friend whose father had passed away in Du-port road where Representative Cole currently resides.

When Representative Cole reportedly approached the driveway where Dr. Mbayo’s vehicle was parked at the edge of the lawmaker’s fence, reports say his driver asked for the doctor’s vehicle to be removed calmly.

Out of a sudden, representative Cole shouted, “You A** take your vehicle from beside my fence, don’t you know who I am”?

The Doctor in return told him It was unfair for him to intrude in the discussion with insult when two drivers are discussing a civil matter.

Representative Cole disembarked his vehicle and said he was being disrespected by the trio, therefore, he ordered thugs to beat them.

One of his workers named Ishmael along with others joined in a tussle with Dr. Mbayo and ripped his underwear, shirt and trouser while St. Simon’s Principal was also beaten, and his shit ripped.

For Journalist Johnson-Mbayo, she was kicked on her left leg and sustained a bruise and wound.

Meanwhile, the case was taken at the Police Station, and Officers of Zone-5 said the trio disrespected the lawmaker and requested their lawyer to sign for them.

The police did not show interest in the order of Representative Cole’s use of thugs to beat Journalist Johnson-Mbayo and the two others.


The New Dawn is Liberia’s Truly Independent Newspaper Published by Searchlight Communications Inc. Established on November 16, 2009, with its first hard copy publication on January 22, 2010. The office is located on UN Drive in Monrovia Liberia. The New Dawn is bilingual (both English & French).
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