Senate to probe $100m cocaine case
By Ethel A. Tweh
Montserrado County Senator Abraham Dillon has termed Criminal Court “C” recent verdict in the US$100 million drugs case as a factor that undermines collective efforts to combat drugs and its damaging effects on the country.
Last Thursday, jurors at the Criminal Court “C” unanimously acquitted four defendants accused of importing into Liberia, 520 kilograms of cocaine valued at US$100 million offloaded at TRH warehouse in Topoe Village, importer of frozen poultry products.
The discovery and confiscation of the illegal drugs brought into the country through the Freeport of Monrovia occurred in mid-2022 by national security actors.
“A week after said discovery, another consignment of dangerous drug at the monetary value of “Forty Million United States Dollars” was reportedly discovered and confiscated from the very business center,” Senator Dillon narrated.
The four defendants adjudged not guilty under the jurisdiction of Judge A. Blamo Dixon of Criminal Court “C” include a Liberian, Oliver Zayzay and three foreigners named, Makki Ahmed Issam, Adulai Djalo and Malam Conte.
They were tried on charges of money laundering, criminal conspiracy, unlicensed possession of controlled drugs and unlicensed importation of controlled drugs.
But in his communication to the Senate plenary on Tuesday, May 23, Senator Dillon said the verdict also renders the country’s fight against drug trafficking meaningless and exposes Liberia to international ridicule.
He stresses that the country’s international partners and the world are watching with dismay, adding that like many of his legislative colleagues, he is deeply concerned about the entire conduct of the trial and as such, the Liberian Senate needs to find out what transpired.
Dillon reminds that under Article 34 (b) of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia, the Legislature is granted the power and authority to “Provide for the security of the Republic”, be it economic, health, public safety, national security, etc.
According to him, due to the grave nature of this case, the huge public interest and concerns, and the threats such dangerous drugs pose to the country and its people, his office purposely followed and observed the trial at Criminal Court “C” at the Temple of Justice.
“More alarming is the increasing numbers of our citizens, particularly the youthful population falling prey to drug addiction and substance abuse.”
“Simply put, these acts are threats to our national security with potential threats to our existence as a country and people. It is time, more than before, for “elders” of the land to act under the authority of Article 34 (b) of the Constitution of Liberia. We have the duty!” The Montserrado County Senator notes in his communication.
At the same time, he is seeking Plenary’s endorsement to summon the Minister of Justice and Attorney General Frank Musa Dean; the Director of the Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency and the Commissioner-General of the Liberia Revenue Authority, respectively.
He wants these officials to appear along with other relevant state security authorities in connection with the matter referenced above for appropriate legislative measures and or action/s, where applicable and necessary.
Meanwhile, Dillon’s communication was received and forwarded to the Senate Committees on Security and Judiciary, to report to plenary in a week.
The decision was triggered by a motion from Lofa County Senator, Cllr. Joseph Jallah. Editing by Jonathan Browne