The Inquirer is a leading independent daily newspaper published in Liberia, based in Monrovia. It is privately owned with a "good reputation".

Liberia Makes Extradition Request To US

Liberia has reportedly made a request to the United States to have Benjamin Baker who is at the center of the arms shipment extradited to stand trial in the country.

The request is being channeled through diplomatic means by the Foreign Affairs Ministry in Liberia to the State Department of the United States. If the extradition does not work, then the accused will be tried in America.

Police Director, Patrick Sudue said the accused must face prosecution for the arms shipment which was boosted by the joint security following intelligence and information-sharing with their foreign counterparts of which the Americans are not exempted.

He said the joint security have in their custody some of the accomplices, among which is the principal suspect Benjamin Baker and those detained are Barbara Debah, a resident of the Old Road Community who is believed to be the Liberia’s contact agent.

Others are Melvina Payne, a Custom Broker of the shipment; and Ezekiel Tamba, reportedly arrested in the ceiling of the house in the G-4 Community in Brewerville Township where some of the weapons were seized in Electoral District #17, Montserrado County.

The discovery came as a result of the Army’s Chief of Staff, Prince Charles Johnson, III, public comments last month (December). He claimed to have received text messages from some Liberians asking the military to topple the present regime during the President’s 48-day state visit to various countries last year.

But it is not known whether the extradition treaty between Liberia and United States still exists.  If it does, then when was the last time it was implemented or enforced by either country?

Knowingly, this is important because Liberia’s successive administrations have failed in numerous attempts to have some public officials who fled to the United States and wanted on alleged criminal charges extradited.

For the sake of record; in 1984, one of the former ‘progressive’ politicians and bureaucrats Charles Taylor fled to the United States having been accused of embezzling US$900, 000 from the General Service Agency (GSA) where he once worked.

During that year, Taylor was arrested in United States and spent 15 months in detention during which time an extradition request was made by the Liberian regime of the late Samuel Doe but was never honored.

Regrettably, when the former Managing Director of the Liberia Civil Aviation Authority (LCAA), Ellen Cockrum was accused of corruption, she also fled to the United States.

When Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and her administration made an extradition request for her extradition so as to stand trial in Liberia, that did not also materialize, and there are several instances, but for this one; let’s wait and see perhaps policies have changed.

Meanwhile, the police are expected to provide an in-depth update to the public perhaps anytime this week following the seizure of arms and ammunitions at the Freeport of Monrovia and that of the Brewerville Township respectively.

Spokesman Moses Carter said that this will follow the completion of their search and seizure warrant obtained from the court on the container which contained the weapons illegally brought into the country.

He told the media that the findings shall inform the population thereby believing that weapons confiscated by joint security in league with their foreign counterparts including the Americans is not a joke but a serious matter.

Last Thursday, January 4, the joint security in the country confiscated a huge cache of weaponry at two different locations in a container shipped from the United States and also stored some in a house by whom and for what reason is not yet known.

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