By C. Winnie Saywah
The tenth witness introduced by the defense in the ongoing trial of Mercenarism in the courtroom of Criminal Court “D” has revealed that upon his arrest in a place called the Middle East in Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County, some ERU officers of the Liberia National Police took away his $66, 000 and 46 grams of gold.
Defendant Junior Gelor said he was in his shop that fateful day of May 8, 2011, when he saw people running helter-skelter due to police raid therefore he attempted to close down his business center but was encountered by four ERU officers who instructed him to open up so that they can carry out their search.
The witness said he did not hesitate because he knew that he had nothing to hide but while the search was going on, he answered all questions posed to him relating to what was contained in the different bags in his room which was also an attachment of the shop.
He said while in that process, the officers found with him $66, 000 (currency not mentioned) and 46 grams of gold. Still in their search, the witness said he saw one of the officers pull ten parcels of marijuana (grass) from his own jacket and alarmed, “what is this?. He said that it can never be from his room because he only deals in gold and food stuffs therefore there is no way grass could be found in his room.
While in that argument, he said the officers decided to place handcuff on his hand and he tried to resist but was slapped in the face and later taken outside with his gold which filled a small jar and his money. While outside, he suggested that he leave someone at his shop while he is taken away.
Witness Gelor said he was informed that he was taken to Zwedru for possession of narcotic substance and subsequently handcuffed. He testified that it was at the Zwedru Police Depot that he saw some of the others who are now on trial with him and when he asked the officers in charge for his items taken from his shop, he was told that it was only he that was reported by the ERU and not items.
Gelor said they remained at the Zwedru depot for four days and later relocated to Monrovia where they were thrown into different depots. Following days, they were carried to the headquarters of the Liberia National Police and later bundled at the Zone One Depot because that depot had enough space to keep all the defendants.
“I have lost everything without proof and evidence from government. Surprisingly they told us to give them some money and we would be released. We were 13 persons who were taken to the Monrovia Central Prison and three persons were released because some family members gave the police some money,” he explained.
He said that gave him courage that one day he too could be freed because setting the others free without charge meant that government had no evidence to keep them. “Later they attached Bob Marley with us and I was surprised because they said that man was our commander and through their explanation, I argued that I was not part of what they were talking because I was arrested for ‘grass’ and not Mercenarism”.
He said he was arrested in 2011 therefore he could not have been recruited in 2012 by Oforee Diah as was stated in one of the statements from the police noting that he neither signed nor wrote any statement at any police station instead he only answered questions regarding his mother, father and his own name including his date and place of birth.
Witness Gelor denied ever travelling out of Grand Gedeh County since his birth in June 1, 1976 and further explained that it was after nine months before an indictment was received from the government for the charges levied against him.
“It was Bob Marley’s statement that took us to the Monrovia Central Prison where we were charged together only to see that he was released. After a month, another group was added to us with similar charges,” he explained.
“To God, I know nothing about the allegation; I have never travelled out of Liberia to any country. I only know how to dig gold and sell at my business center called Timayah,” the witness concluded.