Drug Offenses No Longer Bailable…Legislature Passes Amended Law
By Alva Mulbah Wolokolie
The previous anti-drug law which grants bail to anyone found engaged in the sale or use of illicit drug has been amended and passed by the 53rd National Legislature making the offense “non- bailable”.
Report from the Legislature Joint Committee on National Security and Judiciary on an amendment to the penal law of Liberia Chapter 14, with title “Offensive involving danger to the person” by adding thereto subchapter under the title “Controlled drugs and substances Act of 2014”, amending therefore an Act creating the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has given the absolute power to the agency to prevent drug abuse.
Among many elements in the anti-drug law, it stipulates tough penalties for ‘would be drug-abusers’ including making the crime “a non-bailable offense.”
When the amended portion of the Act was read yesterday during the 37th day sitting of the 3rd session of the House at Capitol Hill, all of the Representatives attending session voted overwhelmingly making the law non-bailable.
The amended Act is expected to be taken to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to sign and be printed into hand bill for implementation.
Liberia has been plagued by high infiltration of drug in the face of the feeble drug law but this passage would bring liberation to the entire society in this fight to ensure victory for all.
Liberia is listed as one of the countries in West Africa where illicit drugs are heavily trafficked, and the country’s Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) Chief, Mr. Anthony Souh, has cried out for the need for strong anti-drug law in curtailing the situation.
Last year at a press conference in Monrovia, Mr. Souh said Liberia remains vulnerable to illicit drug trafficking and abuse, and the situation may loom for generations, unless there is an uncompromising drug law.
The United States and other international partners have been helping to crack down on illicit drug trafficking in Liberia, but the country has had a law allowing offenders a second chance while it has been alleged that top officials of government have been backing the lucrative deal.
It has also been reported that Liberia is listed as one of the countries where heavy illicit drugs including cocaine, heroin and marijuana are transited to enter European and other western nations.
President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, during her annual address in January 2014, pleaded with the National Legislature to pass into law an Anti-Drug Bill she would submit to help curtail drug trafficking and abuse in the country, something that was already drafted by the DEA.