FrontPage Africa Summoned Over Bribery Allegations in US$100m Cocaine Trial
The Judge of Criminal Court ‘C’, Blamo Dixon, has summoned the management and employees of FrontPage Africa newspaper over a recent report in the wake of a shock verdict that acquitted all the defendants in the US$100 million cocaine
The report flagged allegations of bribes within the corridors of the justice system which is believed to have landed the defendants the unanimous not-guilty verdict.
On Thursday, May 18, jurors at Criminal Court ‘C’ handed down a unanimous not-guilty verdict, exonerating all four defendants accused of being part of an alleged scheme to import a staggering 520kg of cocaine into Liberia.
That ruling sent shockwaves across the country and beyond. Minister of Justice Cllr. Musa Dean described the ruling as appalling and a travesty of justice.
Cllr. Dean, the Attorney General of Liberia, said the ruling clearly undermines the collective efforts of Liberia and its international coalition to clamp down on the illegal transit of illicit drugs using West Africa as the conduit to trade narcotics internationally from Latin America and elsewhere.
He said it becomes worrisome and shameful as in the case of the recent verdict, for the courts to be setting hardcore criminals free when the evidence is overwhelming in the face of international security collaboration that tracked and brought the perpetrators of this heinous crime before the law.
On May 19, FrontPage Africa reported that multiple sources confirmed that a sum of US$500,000 was used to influence the jury’s decision. The report also cited an anonymous diplomatic source stating that the US authorities would make serious attempts to arrest the accused due to a lack of trust in Liberia’s judicial system.
Almost two weeks later, the judge at Criminal Court ‘C’ Blamo Dixon issued a writ of summons to the newspaper’s management and employees, ordering them to appear on June 13 to show cause why they should not be held in contempt of court. The summons specifically referred to the report’s claim that cash was used to influence the jurors’ ruling.
Excerpt of the summons: The Court: “…That the Defendant Management is hereby summoned to show cause why Defendant Management should not be held in Criminal Contempt of Court and to establish and prove where, when, how and who received and splashed the “US$500,000.00 around Judicial Circles to influence the Jury” in the US$100 Million Cocaine Case that was heard, determined and disposed of by the First Judicial Circuit, Criminal Court “C” for Montserrado County, Republic of Liberia, as reported in Volume 17, Number 093 of the May 19, 2023 Edition of the Frontage Africa Newspaper.”
In response, FPA Management insists that it stands by its story and vowed to not disclose its sources under whatever condition.
“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see what’s going on with the summons of the FrontPage Africa management in relation to this controversial verdict, which we have reported and criticized without any regret. We stand by our sources and our report on this matter to the very end,” FPA Editorial Board stated in an Editorial.