By: R. Joyclyn Wea
MONROVIA-It is reported that the Justice in Chamber, Judge Yarmie Gbeisay of the Supreme Court of Liberia has declined the issuance of a writ of prohibition prayed for by the Government of Liberia seeking to prevent the four freed defendants in the hundred million cocaine case from leaving the country.
It can be recalled that government’s lawyers late May 23, 2023, filed an injunction before the Justice in the Chamber of the Supreme Court of Liberia to place a stay order on Judge Blamo Dixon’s ruling that further ordered the government to immediately return the US$ 210,000 thousand confiscated from the defendants.
The Chamber-Justice cited both Government’s Lawyers and Judge Dixson to a conference. It was said that the Chamber-Justice declined to issue the stay order as prayed for by the prosecution.
The prosecution noted that the money in question is actually US$113,000, and not US$200,000 as the government previously stated.
It was confiscated from one Gustavo Henrique, who was tried in absentia, and not from any of the four defendants, therefore it cannot refund the money to any of the freed individuals as mandated by Judge Dixson
The indictment mentioned the sum of US$200,000 was confiscated from the defendants, but the government somersaulted and is now claiming that after a thorough investigation, it has realized that the money was US$113,000 instead of the US$200,000 previously mentioned.
This comes days after a “not guilty verdict” was handed down by Jurors in the US$100 Million Cocaine Case favoring the acquitted individuals.
Malam Conte, Adulai Djibril Djalo, Makki Ahmad Issam, and Oliver A. Zayzay were freed of Money Laundering, Unlicensed Possession of Controlled Drugs, and Unlicensed Importation of Controlled Drugs charges levied against them by the State.
In its petition filed, the government rejected Judge Dixon’s decision to return the controversial money to the four persons who have been set free of all charges in the historic cocaine case noting that the judge was in error to inform the jurors that the money will be turned over to the defendants if they were ruled not guilty.
The prosecution maintained that the Criminal Court “C” Judge was in error to have made such a proclamation because it is not in his purview to issue such an order.
Moreover, the State is contesting that the amount in question does not belong to any of the defendants that was acquitted as it was provided by Gustavo Henrique, (who was tried in absentia) to purchase a container, as confirmed by Malam Conte, one of the acquitted defendants.
Petitioner pointed that Judge Dixon erred in that the court had already been put on notice the amount received by the Ministry of Justice which was deposited at the Central Bank US$113,000.00 and not US$210.000.00.