By Grace Q. Bryant
One of the several subpoena witnesses in the ongoing US$100 million case at Criminal Court ‘C’ testified on Friday that the TRH Trading has been given certain privileges in clearing their imported goods in the country.
It had been reported that it is the TRH Trading consignment that shipped the container cocaine in the country by a way of the Free Port of Monrovia.
But in his testimony, Othello Gablah, the publisher of the New Dawn Newspaper said “basically, in any giving situation criminals will exploit any weak system and in this case, the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) admitted that TRH had been given certain privileges allowing them to clear their goods/ consignment of containers under such arrangement which is using mere invoices or bill landing” witness Gablah testified.”
He told the jurors and court that, therefore, any criminal knowing such system could exploit same.
According to Gablah, prior to the arrival of the container, the Global Maritime Tracking Solution that tracks shipment across the world said that the container with the US$100 million cocaine was subjected to physical inspection but it was ignored.
But the government, Glablah said ignored the warning from the GTS to subject the container that was carrying the cocaine to inspection.
Moreover, the defense witness testified that GTS has the particularity of the container and that they are talking about it gives you a detail of the origin of the shipment as far as telling you the route or pathway the ship travelled to reach its destination.
“And they therefore, on September 22, 2022, issued such waning and it was stated clearly that this particular consignment should be subject to physical inspection,” the defense witness testified.
“Our argument in that editorial is that if such warning was given as is been done on shipment of concerns, why wasn’t such observation or instructions complied with by the relevant authority? Therefore, we, as journalist that questions, wrote through this editorial hopping that our government would clear our doubts,” Glabal testified.
Responding to further questions from the prosecution, the defense witness said, whenever any substance that is illegal and is found in a person’s suitcase or whatever belonging, that person should be treated as a suspect.
“For us, the tiding between when TRH was consider a whistle blower/ victim while the substance should still been rounded up; we believer in our mine under prudent jurisdiction that will be held as suspect pending investigation to dispose of the matter. But to have been cleared and turned over to the victim; we had more questions and needed answers.”
“Last year, I was caught with drugs in my suitcase, l argued that l didn’t know about it and therefore l reported to the police and in February this year, in some months after, another drugs is found in my suitcase. The question of that column is why only TRH always having drugs and therefore we asked the government to ask TRH more question. Reporting a thing does not exonerate you from saying what you want me to say,” Gablah contended.
“As per the subpoena that was handed over to me, I was asked to bring a copy of the February 13th publication and not the source of my information,” he said.
He continued that the author intent of the particular editorial in question was to draw the government’s attention to what it believed may have been some overstep in the process of the investigation.
In that clearing an entity or an individual who may have been found with such dangerous substance and is also operating under a special post clearance module, he or she could have been used by criminals to have imported same knowingly or unknowing to therefore the intent was to allow the government to asked TRH more questions, the witnessed averred.
‘Gov’t Gave TRH Trading Privileges’
By Grace Q. Bryant