LIBERIA: Committee Setup To Investigate President Sirleaf’s Son On Seizure Of Korean US$247,000.00 Releases Report With Recommendations; Ordering Refund Of The Money

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has received the report of the special independent committee headed by the Dean and Professor of Law, Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law, University of Liberia, Clllr. David A. B. Jallah.

According to the Executive Mansion release, the special independent committee appointed by the Liberian leader was mandated to investigate accusations of money laundering, counterfeiting, illegal arrest and conspiracy to defraud, involving some Korean nationals, a Lebanese and the National Security Agency (NSA).

President Sirleaf has subsequently forwarded the report to the Ministry of Justice for review and to ensure that appropriate actions including all of the recommendations contained in the report are taken consistent with law.

The recommendations are:

(a)    Appropriate administrative actions be taken against the operatives of the National Security Agency (five in all) who were directly involved with the arrest of the Korean and Sierra Leonean nationals immediately.

(b)   The operatives of the National Security Agency (five in all) who were directly involved with the arrest of the Korean and Sierra Leonean nationals, and their co-conspirators (two who do not work with the NSA) be handed over to the Ministry of Justice for prosecution in order to clear the name and image of the National Security Agency.

(c)    The Government of Liberia refunds to the Korean nationals the full amount of the Two Hundred, Forty Seven Thousand, Five Hundred United States Dollars (US$247, 500.00) which they withdrew from the International Bank of Liberia (IBLL) on July 8, 2014, and which they proceeded with directly to the City King Hotel, immediately thereafter, and were arrested shortly after their arrival.

She also forwarded a copy of the report to the NSA to ensure that the Agency works with the Ministry of Justice to ensure the speedy implementation of the recommendations contained therein.

Early this year, three Korean nationals, Chae Dae Byoung, Choi Kwang Woon Aleck Gold an Choi Jung Woon of the Republic of South Korea through their attorney-in-fact in Liberia Park Jung Dai filed a formal complaint at the Criminal Court “C” at the Temple of Justice against some officials in the security sector requesting a return of their seized properties.

The complaint was filed against former Justice Minister, Cllr. Christiana Tah, Cllr. Betty Larmie Blamo Solicitor General and the Director of the National Security Agency, Fumba Sirleaf, the son of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

In a motion under the caption: “motion for return of property illegally seized”, the three Koreans through their representative told the court that while sitting at City Guest House on the Old Road, Sinkor around 1:30 PM on July 8, 2014 NSA officers illegally entered the premises and allegedly seized their business money in the amount of US$267,500.00 without due process.

The three Koreans are claiming that the business money seized from them were transferred from their home in South Korea to the International Bank in Monrovia to transact business in Liberia and when the money was taken to the guest house the NSA officers came and seized the money.

Quoting Article 21 of the Constitution of Liberia in the motion the Korean attorney argued that no person shall be subject to search and seizure of his person or property, whether on criminal charge or any other purpose unless upon warrant lawfully issued upon probable cause supported by a solemn oath or affirmation, specially identifying the person or place to be searchable and stating the object of the search.

According to the complaints’ motion other personal properties seized from them by the NSA officers included, gas torch, melting dish, two packs chemical to test gold, an electronic gold scale, two pocket wallets containing credit cards and important call cards.

“Wherefore and in view of the foregoing movants pray your honor and the honorable court to order the within defendants to return the full sum of US$247,500 that was illegally seized from the movants and other properties named within” said the movants’ motion signed by Cllr. Charles Abdullai and Atty. Wellington Bedell.

However, state lawyers were unable to respond to movants’ motion for what state lawyer Atty. Jerry Garlawolo referred to as technical problem and called on the court to give the respondent up to Thursday to file its resistance.

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