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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

US$100 MILLION COCAINE CASE; INVESTIGATION UNEARTHS TRAIL OF COLLUSION AND CONNIVANCE IN LIBERIA’S CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM DUBIOUSLY SHIELDING OWNERS OF TRH 

Date:

MONROVIA – According to a Hot Pepper publication, it has unearthed through a detailed investigation what seems a trail of collusion and connivance on the part of certain individuals in the country’s criminal justice system, dubiously shielding, aiding and abetting George Abi Jaoudi, Bilal Abraham and his wife, who are owners of TRH Trading Corporation, from facing police investigation and, possibly, criminal prosecution.

George Abi Jaoudi, Bilal Abraham and his wife are the owners of TRH which imported into Liberia the containers in which the US$100 million cocaine was found.

The investigation, Hot Pepper says which has been corroborated by the report of the Special Investigative Team (SIT) report and further confirmed and affirmed by the Ministry of Justice’s own indictment, shows that TRH,  which is owned by George Abi Jaoudi, Bilal Abraham, his wife and Cllr. Johnny Momo is the importer of  the containers in which the US$100 million cocaine was found, while Allegra Foods Company of Brazil is the consignor.

But, the online news outline says both the police and the Minister of Justice strangely left out TRH and its owners from the investigation and proceeded to arrest Malam Conte and others as owners of the cocaine, even though the bill of laden for the importation of the containers is in the name of TRH.

The investigation also revealed that the containers were imported into the country on October 1, 2022, and at that time there was a lull in the firm exercise and control of presidential powers because President George Manneh Weah was celebrating his birthday, the paper says.

Accordingly, the Hot Pepper investigation also found that during the intervening days leading to the QATAR 2022 World Cup, the Minister of Justice, Frank Musa Dean Jr., was later left in charge of the country and he exercised the luxurious trappings of presidential powers for over 50 days. It was during that period that, it is believed, that Gustavos Henrique and others came to Liberia.

In the publication, Hot Pepper discloses it could not readily establish what is the level of relationship between and amongst the defendants who were arrested and indicted for the cocaine, and TRH, Bilal Abraham, his wife and George Abi Jaoudi, but it has been established that they paid countless visits at TRH prior to their arrest.

According to Hot Pepper, credible sources hinted that George Abi Jaoudi and Bilal Abraham decided to set up the defendants in a scam after an acrimonious exchange developed over accountability regarding a previous cocaine deal erupted, but this information could not be readily confirmed.

The investigation also shows that the Ministry of Justice’s own indictment accuses TRH of being the importer of dangerous drugs into Liberia, but it failed to arrest and investigate George Abi Jaoudi of Abi Jaoudi & Azar Trading, and Bilal Abraham and his wife, owners of TRH.

Further evidence, Hot Pepper says gathered during the investigation and confirmed by credible police sources revealed that neither TRH nor Allegra Foods Company, Brazil, who are both consignee and consignor of the US$100 million cocaine bust, were ever contacted or investigated.

The investigative team set up by the Government of Liberia (GOL) to probe the cocaine case requested in its report that the Minister of Justice assist them apply the Mutual Legal Assistance(MLA) to arrest and investigate Gustavos Henrique, believed to be the mastermind of the cocaine deal, but the report has fallen on deaf ears. The team also requested to visit the Freeport of Monrovia, Roberts International Airport (RIA) and other business centers, but they were never given the opportunity to do so.

According to Hot Pepper’s investigation, it found no evidence of any effort being made by the government through the Ministry of Justice or the Liberia National Police (LNP) to cite for investigation through INTEPOL Allegra Food Company, Brazil, or Bilal Abraham, who is currently out of Liberia while his TRH business is running.

Accordingly, Hot Pepper says credible police sources say that the investigative team was prevented from citing TRH and its owners for investigation and that officials at TRH even refused to cooperate with the police, and yet, the police were instructed by higher-ups to make TRH and its owners whistleblowers even though the Ministry of Justice’s indictment declared TRH as the importer of the cocaine.

The paper reveals that inside sources at the police also said that investigators were instructed that “TRH” was a “no-go area” and George Abi Jaoudi, Bilal Abraham, his wife, or any official associated with TRH was advised not to honor any invitation from the police.

“Whenever we call any of them, he/she would say, ‘Contact your boss or the Justice Ministry,’” a police source regrettably confided in this paper.

“We were told to blame the egg and leave the chicken,” he added.

The Hot Pepper’s investigation further established that though Bilal Abraham was allegedly declared “persona non grata” and told not to come to Liberia, the business (TRH) that he uses to import cocaine into Liberia remains operational and his wife is seen roaming freely in and out of Liberia.

The investigation further established that, while the defendants were in detention, TRH, owned by Bilal Abraham, his wife, Cllr. Johnny Momo and George Abi Jaoudi, again imported into the country through the same TRH another US$40 million worth of cocaine, and yet some big people at the Ministry of Justice and the police have decided to play blind eyes to this.

“We were advised not to go after the seller and supplier of the cocaine, who are the consignor and consignee, but go after the defendants who were accused of attempting to buy the cocaine,” said a source close to the investigation.

“The Minister of Justice was informed that the police report was inconclusive as there were still more work to be done to inquire from TRH as to how it came into possession of the containers, but our bosses did not give us a breathing space,” the source continued.

The latest information gathered revealed that a specific instruction came from some higher-ups at the LRA that no custom officials should ever inspect goods imported into Liberia at any of the ports of entry by TRH, owned by George Abi Jaoudi and Bilal Abraham.

Credible security sources told this paper that the containers in which the US$100 million cocaine was stockpiled were amongst containers that were labeled “off limits” from custom inspection.

The source added that the instruction by the unknown LRA official is not new, and both the police and the Ministry of Justice are aware that goods imported by TRH are not normally inspected at the Freeport of Liberia.

Meanwhile, the investigation into who declared the “containers off limits” from custom inspection, why TRH, Bilal Abraham and George Abi Jaoudi were never invited and investigated, continues, the paper says.

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Smart News Liberia is an online news outlet, a product of Smart Media Group Inc. smartnewsliberia.com publishes a wide range of content including politics, business, sports, and entertainment on and about Liberia. Contact: +231777425285/ 886946925 Email: info@smartnewsliberia.com/ smartnewsliberia@gmail.com

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