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Trial date uncertain for illegal migrants

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The New Dawn Liberia The New Dawn LiberiaCourt authorities here are yet to come up with a date to hear charges drawn against some 14 individuals accused of illegal penetration of the borders of Liberia, including their host, who faces charges of aiding and harboring illegal migrants.

Last week the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization or BIN charged and forwarded the defendants to curt along with their host, co-defendant Pinky Oral Luogon over claims that they bypassed Bo-Waterside in Grand Cape Mount County and Ganta in Nimba County and clandestinely entered Liberia.

Lawyer for the defendants asked the court last week for time to prepare for the case, and both defendants and prosecutors representing the BIN were due to appear at 9am on Monday, January 12, 2015.

But the Monrovia Magisterial Court did not hear the case because the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization did not show up on Monday, Magistrate Kennedy Peabody said.

He told this paper yesterday, January 12, 2015 that assignment has to be made, in a follow up as to when the case would be heard. It is not however known when the assignment would be made.
Liberia’s immigration officers drove the defendants on the grounds of the Temple of Justice nearing midday in several BIN vehicles on Wednesday, January 7, 2015 and turned them over the court for trial.

A BIN charge sheet said the defendants illegally, criminally [entered Liberia in] defiance [and violation] of the “law” which declared the borders of entry closed as per President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s mandate to fight against Ebola here.

The BIN was in July 2014 instructed by President Sirleaf to directly supervise and control all border points that were to remain opened while she announced several measures aimed at containing the rapid spread of Ebola into Liberia from neighboring Guinea and Sierra Leone.

The defendants charged with illegal penetration of Liberia’s borders along with their host, defendant Luogon include Cecelia Weamia, Rebecca N. Dennis, Kadie Konteah, Irene Marpue Shegbeh, Famata Kroma, Jonathan Amiob and Martin Rogers.

Others are Fatu Na Sambe, John H. Mathies, Mohammed M. Kamara, Daniel Banya, Mary K. Baysah, Idrissa Turay and Enoch M.S. Sayuwo.

They allegedly bypassed the Bo-waterside and Ganta Borders and clandenstinely entered Liberia.
Co-defendant Luogon was alleged to have subsequently hosted them at her Bernard Farm residence in Paynesville, Montserrado County.

BIN officers said defendant Luogon provided accommodations and feeding for the “illegal migrants” at her residence.

The migrants were allegedly arrested at separate locations, including Bo-Waterside Bypass in Grand Cape Mount County and Ganta Bypass in Nimba County.

They allegedly violated 5.90 and 5.91 Count “b” of the New Aliens and Nationality Law of Liberia, the charge sheet said.

As of January 4, 2015, BIN officers said both the defendant [Luogon] and her accomplices were arrested based upon verified information gathered by the BIN that the individuals “illegally, criminally and [in] defiance of the law” that declared the borders of entry closed and entered Liberia.

The BIN said upon entry into the premises of prime defendant Luogon’s at Bernard Farm in Paynesville, they took possession of the defendants’ travelling documents such as passports bearing numbers: E0190067; AA109848; L113572; L094485 or 0125280; L095703 and N14185.

The officers said they have documentary statements of the defendants in their possession.

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