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-As Court Orders Justice Ministry To Pay US$113,000.00 To Acquitted Defendants

By G Bennie Bravo Johnson I

Barely a month after the four acquitted cocaine defendants were set free by the jury at the Criminal Court “C” at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia, Judge A. Blamo Dixon has ordered the Ministry of Justice to pay back US$113,000.00 to the four acquitted defendants.

The Judge, June 1, 2023’s action came after the Justice in Chambers Yamie Quiqui Gbeisay, declined to grant the Writ of Peremptory filed by the government.

According to Judge Dixon, “In view of the report of the Clerk of the court, Cllr. Frank Musa Dean Jr., Minister of Justice, is hereby ordered to bring to the First Judicial Circuit Criminal Court “C” the total amount of US$113,000.00 on Tuesday, June 13, 2023, at 3 pm for onward transmission to the defendants by and thru their legal counsel.”

Judge Dixon, stated that all other monies associated with the case entailed cause of action are waived.

The four acquitted most talks about US$100 million cocaine defendants include Malam Conte, Adulai Jibril Djalo, Makki Ahmad Issam, and Oliver A. Zayzay.

It can be recalled, on Wednesday, May 24, 2023, the Justice in Chambers declined to grant the Writ of Peremptory filed by the Government of Liberia rejecting Judge Dixon’s decision to return the controversial US$200,0000 to four persons who were acquitted in the US$100m cocaine case.

During a conference with both parties in the Justice Chambers, Associate Justice Gbeisay said that he found no merits in the case.

“After listening to both parties, I like to decline in granting the Writ of Peremptory as prayed for by the prosecution. This decision is based on the lack of merits in the case. Therefore, I urged that this matter be trash due to the lack of merits” associates Justice Gbeisay ordered.

But, after listening to the decision of the Justice in Chamber, the government of Liberia immediately took appealed to the full bench of the Supreme Court of Liberia.

The Government raised the contention through a Writ of Prohibition, Tuesday, May 23, 2023, asking the Supreme Court to place a stay order on the release of the money to the four individuals

The government of Liberia on Tuesday, May 23, 2023, rejected Judge Dixon’s decision to return the controversial US$200,0000  to four persons who were acquitted in the US$100m cocaine case.

According to the government, the money was allegedly confiscated from one Gustavo Henrique who was tired by the government in absentia.

However, during his instruction to the jury who found the defendants not guilty the prosecution claimed that Judge Dixon said that if the Jurors returned with a ‘Not Guilty’ verdict, the US$200,000.00 taken from the defendants will be immediately returned.

In the petition, they say that Judge Dixon’s order is erroneous because it is not in his purview to issue such an order. Moreover, the amount in question does not belong to any of the defendants that were acquitted as it was provided by Gustavo Henrique to purchase a container according to Malam Conte one of the acquitted defendants.

The government explained that they reduced the amount from US$200,000.00 to US$113.000 which was the actual amount that Petitioner received and deposited at the Central Bank of Liberia and a copy of the confirmation of the deposit of the amount (US$113,000.00) is in their possession.

However, they said that the actual money on the indictment was US$2,000 but according to the government, after a thorough investigation, they realized that the money was 113,000 contrary to what the indictment had.

The petition maintained that as a consequence of his charge, the Trial Jury returned with a ‘NOT GUILTY’ verdict for the four crimes, namely: Money Laundering, Unlicensed Possession of Controlled Drugs, Unlicensed Importation of Controlled Drugs, and Criminal Conspiracy, thereby acquitting defendants Malam Conte, Adulai Djibril Djalo, Makki Ahmad Issam, and Oliver A. Zayzay.

Petitioner explained that Judge Dixon in announcing the verdict of the Jury and the acquittal of the defendants of the charges on Thursday, May 18, erroneously ordered the State to return to the defendants, the amount of US$210,000.00(Two Hundred Ten Thousand United States Dollars) to which order Petitioner excepted to and gave notice to take advantage of the statute.

Petitioner says 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 is US$113,000.00 and not US$210.000.00.

The petitioner further disclosed that a Writ of Prohibition is a special proceeding to obtain a Writ ordering the respondent to refrain from further pursuing judicial action or proceeding specified here. (See Chapter 16 Section 16.22 of Civil Procedure Law).


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