The Liberia National Police (LNP) has charged and sent to court a 35 – year – old man identified as Mark Roberts for alleged possession of 98 voter registration cards during the just ended senatorial election.
Defendant Roberts, a resident of the Rehab Community, Paynesville, was charged with the crime of bribery.
According to the police investigation, the suspect was allegedly caught while the National Elections Commission(NEC) was conducting the just – ended senatorial elections for 15 seats in the 15 counties as well as the representative by – election for Montserrado and Sinoe Counties, respectively on Tuesday, 8 December.
The police charge sheet reveals that defendant Roberts possessed multiple voter registration cards.
According to Officer Prince Hiama, the defendant was not authorized to possess multiple voter cards, therefore he began a pursuit of the defendant who was picked up along with Trokon Davis, a resident of 22nd Street, Sinkor.
The police continue that Officer Hiama told investigators that when defendant Roberts noticed that he was being chased and was at the verge of being arrested, he threw to the ground, a plastic containing 98 NEC registration cards and started to flee further.
But the accused was caught by some persons believed to be residents of District#9, Montserrado County, the officer explains.
The police investigation narrates that Officer Hiama then turned over defendant Roberts along with the NEC voter registration cards and also turned over witness Davis for questioning.
The investigation further discloses that an in- depth criminal investigation was initiated to ascertain the veracity of the allegation against defendant Roberts, and to also authenticate whether there existed criminal complicity of Trokon Roberts.
According to the police, they subsequently interviewed and obtained a written statement from witness Davis who narrated that while in his community during the early morning hours of 8 December, he saw defendant Roberts, Obediah and Samuel to be identified entering Miller Katakaw’s compound. Katakaw was one of the representative candidates in Montserrado County District 9 representative by – election.
The police charge sheet indicates that witness Roberts also revealed that he later entered Miller Katakaw’s compound and heard defendant Roberts and others discussing with Katakaw that they have some voting cards for sale and further displaced the cards to candidate Katakaw.
Police say the witness claimed that Katakaw told defendant Roberts and his cohorts that he did not have money to purchase the votes of the cards’ owners, instead they should go vote for their choice of candidate.
Davis, according to police, saw the multiple cards when they were removed from a plastic bag, but candidate Katakaw did not have money to purchase the cards.
According to the charge sheet, he disclosed on the same day, he again met defendant Roberts on the main road at 19th Street, Sinkor and at that point, he saw the police officers arresting defendant Roberts. He notes that defendant Roberts ran but got tried, sitting on a motorbike that he (Davis) and a girl were sitting on.
The police charge sheet points out that defendant Roberts was informed of his Miranda/ Constitutional rights, but chose to provide a written statement without a counselor upon his arrest.
The LNP reveals that defendant Roberts explained that before the election, about 100 young people that he was leading, came together and decided to give their vote to one candidate for the senatorial and representative elections.According to him, the condition was for the candidates to give money to the voters, but no amount was specified.
He is said to have also explained that on the eve of the election, he (defendant Roberts) and others visited the home of Mrs. Pelham, mother of the late Rep. Munah Pelham – Youngblood who allegedly gave them LRD$22, 000 to cast their votes for her candidate in person of Mark Forkor. But police say the defendant alleged that he and his colleagues refused on grounds that the cash was small for their votes.
By Ben P. Wesee–Edited by Winston W. Parley