U.S.$100 Million Cocaine Acquittal a Blow to Liberia's Drug War

A notorious U.S.$100 million cocaine bust in Liberia's capital Monrovia, and the acquittal of all four defendants - Makki Ahmed Issam, Adulai Djalo, Oliver Zayzay, and Malam Conte, is a case that serves as a stark reminder of the challenges faced by Liberia in combating drug trafficking, especially considering the country's history as a transit zone for narcotic drugs destined for Europe and other parts of the world, writes Lennart Dodoo for FrontPageAfrica.

Barely a day after being acquitted of all charges, the four reportedly fled the country, leaving behind the U.S.$200,000 that was ordered returned to them by the court, following their May 18, 2023 acquittal. They also faced additional charges of money laundering, unlicensed possession of controlled drugs, unlicensed importation of controlled drugs, and criminal conspiracy.

The issues surrounding the jury trial system in Liberia have also come to the forefront. Legal experts continue to raise concerns about the composition of the jury, with many individuals assigned to jury service being financially disadvantaged and potentially lacking a comprehensive understanding of the cases presented before them. In addition, the lack of adequate funding for prosecutors has resulted in insufficient trial preparation, leading to a high rate of case losses for the State.

The Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Cllr. Frank Musah Dean, expressed his disappointment with the verdict. He has raised concerns about the sudden departure of the defendants from the country.

(file photo).

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