ON FRIDAY, MY 19, 2023
Monrovia, Liberia – On May 19, 2023, Criminal Court ‘C’ at the Temple of Justice will rule on the fate of the US$ 100 million cocaine case. The TRH Trading Corporation, located along the Japan FreeWay in Topoe Village, Gardnerville, Monrovia, is said to have shipped the $100 million worth of cocaine into the nation. The TRH Training Corporation’s container was impounded and arrested in October 2022 by the Liberia combined security operations under the direction of LDEA.
Four persons were indicted by the Liberian government in connection with the shipment of the cocaine, and they have been trials on multiple charges ranging from criminal conspiracy, money laundering, unlicensed possession of controlled drugs, and unlicensed importation of controlled drugs.
The 100m cocaine case has claimed public interest and other International communities and organizations have lasted in criminal court ‘C’ for the past three months.
Fifteen (15) members panel jury has been listening to testimonies from witnesses from both the defense lawyers and the state prosecutors.
A total number of seven general witnesses and five subpoenaed witnesses were made to appear before the facts trial.
The panel jury will hang down their final verdict following a closing argument by both the defense lawyers and the state prosecutors.
During the trial, the state prosecution produced six general witnesses and three rebuttal witnesses, as well as CCTV footage(videos) of one of the defendant’s cell phones believed to have contained a photo of the container tracking numbers, a stocked kit containing cocaine and physical testing of the drug in open court to convince the trial jurors about the existence of the cocaine allegedly seized from the THR premises.
While the defense on the other hand produced one general witness who testified on behalf of the remaining three defendants and six subpoenaed witnesses.
The state prosecutors might base their argument on the testimonies of one of their key witnesses, Samuel Nimely, the general manager of THR who is believed to be a whistleblower in the case.
The state prosecutors are poised to use a portion of Nemily’s testimony, which could serve as a focal point to prove their case.
Nimely claimed that the defendants offered to give him US$200K for a container of pig feet where the cocaine was allegedly discovered, which is normally sold for U$21,000.
The state prosecution also use the mobile phone images of the parking of said container shipped from Brazil to Liberia allegedly by the defendants.
The phone was said to have been seized from the defendant before his arrest.
“We were able to identify the narcotics as having been grade A cocaine chemically tested. The cocaine was stocked in boxes labeled silver whiskey, the container having been identified and the suspects have arrested,” Nimely’s testimony.
While the defense team’s closing arguments might focus on two of its subpoenaed witnesses’ testimonies.
In laying out their arguments, the defense lawyers might also look at the testimonies of two of its witnesses, James Hinneh, president of the Customs Broker Association of Liberia, and Othello Gablah, publisher of the New Dawn Newspaper.
Hinneh’s in his testimony accused the National Port Authority (NPA) of not issuing the TRH Trading Corporation any import permit declaration to clear their container from the Free Port of Monrovia that contained the alleged $US100m cocaine leaving the port without being searched.
Moreover, Hinneh, the defense’s fifth subpoenaed witness in the ongoing US$ 100 million cocaine case told the court and jury that BAVIC did not also permit TRH to clear their container.
“the cocaine container didn’t follow the BAVIC regulations, because it does not attach its permit before the clearing of the container by TRH, ” the defense fifth witness said.
He further testified that the container was to be checked and confirm that it was free of dangerous substances. He also testified that TRH Trading Corporation also violated the custom regulation by shipping the US 100 million cocaine container into the country.
Othello Garblah also testified that the TRH Trading Corporation was to be held responsible for the shipment of the container containing the 100m cocaine into the country with the assistance of the government of Liberia.
Garblah narrated: “Basically, in any given situation criminals will exploit any weak system in this case Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) has admitted that TRH had been given certain privileges allowing them to clear their goods/ consignment of containers under auch arrangement which is using mere invoices or bill landing. Therefore, any criminal knowing such a system could exploit the same,” he noted.
According to Gablah, before the arrival of the container, the Global Maritime Tracking Solution which tracks shipments across the globe that the container with the US$ 100 million cocaine was subjected to physical inspection but it was ignored.
Meanwhile, the jurors will retire into their room of deliberation to bring a verdict in favor or against the defendants after the final arguments.
Reported by: G. Watson Richards