MONROVIA – The government of Liberia has admitted that they had lost all traces of four drug dealers linked to a cocaine shipment worth 100 million dollars after a trial jury unexpectedly found them not guilty.
“The four fled straight after their release by the court,” said Musa Dean.
On May 18, a jury in Monrovia found the four drug dealers not guilty, and the court ordered the $200,000 cash taken from them to be returned.
The verdict has since sparked miss reactions among Liberians, including Montserrado County Senator Abraham Darius Dillon.
The Senator said: “Justice is on sale in Liberia.”
He added that the verdict by criminal Court A in the one hundred million drug case renders Liberia’s fight against drug trafficking meaningless, and exposes Liberia to international ridicule.
The Montserrado lawmaker said it also undermines collective efforts to combat drugs and its damaging effects in the Country calling on the Senate’s plenary to summon the Justice Minister, Drug Enforcement Agency Director, and Commissioner-General of the Liberia Revenue Authority for appropriate Legislative actions where applicable.
Also, Ekina Wesley posted on his official Facebook page against the court’s ruling said: “The drug war comes along with huge complexities! How we choose trial by jury after the Americans significantly aided us in the confiscation of drugs valued at $100 million is mind-baffling, to say the least.”
Mr. Wesley, a Liberian journalist added, “Meanwhile, the same Americans’ continued human rights reports have successively labeled our Judiciary as corrupt.
“What then do we expect? Not a magic formula as it were. SHAME!”
It can be recalled, in October 2022, the US and Brazilian assistance, Liberian security officials seized a container full of cocaine.
The four men — one Liberian, a Portuguese, a Lebanese and a Guinea-Bissau national — were arrested trying to take ownership of the 520 kilos of cocaine smuggled from Brazil, according to Justice Minister Frank Musah Dean Jr.
The Justice Minister warned that the verdict undermined the efforts of Liberia and an international coalition to clamp down on the illegal drug trade.
“The courts must be ready to act in conformity with the laws and the gravity of the breach of our laws,” said Musa Dean.
“The accused were caught red-handed attempting to take ownership of the container holding the illicit drug by attempting to bribe the businessman housing the container,” he said.
“Yet the court, through the … a 12-man jury said such brazen evidence didn’t warrant a guilty verdict.
“What more can the joint security and the Justice Ministry do to convince the court that the law was broken,” he pleaded.
“These kinds of verdicts only lend credence to the widely held international and local perception that the judiciary, namely the courts, are inherently compromised,” said the minister.
“The ruling has also brought Liberia to international ridicule.”
A US State Department report last year on human rights in Liberia found judges faced attempts to sway their rulings. Defence and prosecution lawyers encouraged defendants to pay up for the right outcomes.
The arrest of drugs was advertised as one of Liberia’s biggest successes against drug smugglers.