Liberian Officials Accused of Rape in Korea Blame Allegations on Racism 

Moses Owen Browne (far right) and is Liberia’s Permanent Representative to the IMO and Daniel Tarr (second from left) are accused of reaping to South Korean teenagers.

MONROVIA – Two Liberian officials accused of raping teenagers in South Korea have claimed that they are victims of racism and were framed by their accusers.

Moses Owen Browne is Liberia’s Permanent Representative to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) based in the UK while Daniel Tarr is the Director of the Department of Marine Environmental Protection.

Both men had traveled to Busan, South Korea to attend the GHG SMART Practical Training and Study Visit which ran from September 19-23.

While there, they were arrested by South Korean police and taken to custody on Friday after the alleged victims claimed they are teenagers and called the police from the two officials’ hotel room that they had been raped.

According to Korean news agencies, the alleged victims informed authorities that they are 14 and 16 years old respectively, though the two disgraced officials said the girls had told them that they were 21 and 26 years old.

According to the official, they met the girls at a mall and the girls offered to take them around and help them buy mobile phones at cheaper prices.

Thereafter, the girls reportedly asked them out for a drink, followed them to their hotel where they had some drinks, and smoked outside the hotel room.

After spending some time with them in their hotel room, the girls allegedly offered to spend the night and then called their friends to bring them some clothes for a change.

Hours later, they heard a strong bang on their door while the girls were inside.

Brown is quoted by FrontPage Africa as saying prior to the arrival of the police, there was a heavy bang on their door and when he spied through the peephole, he observed four strong men wearing black – a sight he said instilled fear in them and therefore, decided not to open the door.

He said the hotel’s receptionist hang up on him when he called to inform them of the heavy bang on the door. According to him, there was a second bang a few minutes later so he called other Maritime officials attending the conference who confirmed to him that it was the police banging on their door. It was when he gained the confidence to open the door.

He said when they opened the door, they heard the girls saying “These are the monkeys who raped us”.

Meanwhile, the men are yet to be formally charged. A Korean judge has taken statements from them to determine probable cause for a formal rape charge against them and the need for detention. If no probable cause is found, they will be released from police custody and allowed to leave the country immediately.

Haunted by the Past

Following the report of Browne’s alleged involvement with rape, a poster identified as Ne-Suah Livingstone posted to Facebook, “Monkey can’t leave his black palm behind. He raped a child that lived with him in 2018”.

However, Smart News Liberia reported that Owen had a rape record prior to his appointment by the President of Liberia to the International Maritime organization.

“We ran after an alleged rape case involving this same Moses Owen Brown as the accused perpetrator and the little girl who used to live with him and his wife. While running about, seeking justice for the survivor, Moses Owen Brown and his wife moved out of their Airfield residence, when we looked, he was given a job by the Liberian Government out of this country, leaving the case hanging!!! Monkey can’t leave its black hands behind!!!” Smart News Liberia quoted the child rights advocate as saying.

LiMA’s Pledges Full Cooperation

The Liberia Maritime Authority (LiMA) has described the allegation against its officials as grave and said it maintains a zero-tolerance stance on any and all types of sexual and gender-based offenses, and views these allegations of the conduct of its Officials as most egregious, having no place in any civilized society.

“Liberia Maritime Authority will fully cooperate with the Government of the Republic of South Korea in the investigation of this incident and vows to take appropriate actions, pursuant to national and international Law,” it said in a statement.

Controversial appointment

Owen was appointed by President Weah as Liberia’s Permanent Representative to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) based in the UK. His appointment was contested by his immediate predecessor, Isaac Jackson, who claimed his tenure has not expired.

Prior to their arrest, Owen has been giving detail about the conference and his activities in South Korea on his LinkedIn page.

“It’s a busy week in Busan, South Korea, and we are participating in The Korea Maritime Week – an annual international conference where experts from around the globe, including academics, businessmen, and government officials, come together to review current agendas and plan future strategies for the maritime sector,” he wrote.

“It pleases my heart very greatly to be in the presence of H.E. Kitack Lim, Secretary-General, International Maritime Organization (IMO).”

“Great time again catching up with Senior IMO Colleagues at the Republic of Korea (RoK) and International Maritime Organization (IMO) Green House Gas Sustainable Maritime Transport Training Programme (GHG-SMART) for Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) ongoing in Busan, Korea.”

Prior to his appointment, he served as Director of Communications and Public Relations at the Civil Service Agency of Liberia. On his LinkedIn profile, he described himself as a diplomat, Development Communications Specialist, Pastor, and Teacher of God’s Word.

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