Police Hunt For Bank Fraud Suspect
By Edwin G. Wandah
The residence of Africano H. Freeman in Bardnersville, Kpelleh Town Community in Kerba was yesterday a scenario when officers of the Liberia National Police- LNP barricaded the home in search of him on the orders of Judge Peter W. Gbeneweleh of Criminal Court C.
According to sources at the scene of the incident, an escort of huge police officers, including some personnel from the Police Support Unit of the LNP, including plain clothes officers of the LNP barricaded the premises of Africano H. Freeman’s abode, demanding that he turns himself over to court’s investigation.
When this paper visited the area early Wednesday morning, the officers had left the scene, but family members and bystanders told this paper of the level of brutality perpetrated against them by the LNP officers.
Africano H. Freeman’s sister-in law, Sando Nyumah, alleged that early Tuesday morning, an unidentified man dressed in brown long sleeves shirt, wearing a pair of black trousers and a black and white stripped sneakers was seen photographing the home of Africano H. Freeman.
Sando also alleged that the man also banged on the back gate of the residence, demanding to enter the fence, but was denied entry to the compound on grounds that the act he (the unknown exhibited) was illegal, taking photos without the prior knowledge of the residents.
“I decided to pursue this man, but he immediately escaped the scene on a motor bike before I even got to him,” Sando stated.
“In few minutes, the same fellow reappeared along with some men who said they were from the Liberia National Police- LNP but we could not allow them entry again because they dressed in color clothes; my brother, after they left, we saw about three pickup trucks, loaded with officers of the PSU, and police officers, heavily armed with guns and teargas, demanding Africano turn himself over,” Sando averred.
Sando further stated that when the officers were demanding for Africano, one of those in the compounds with them, a Pastor, only identified as Richmond pleaded with them to let open the door since they were identified as police officers.
“After opening the gates, the officers immediately ordered our arrest and placed us in a little corner, while they over ran the home, searching the entire compound. They tortured us; tied my two little siblings and handcuffed one of my sisters and I and put us in the closed corner of the yard,” disclosed.
“Since Tuesday morning to this morning, we have not eaten anything; our home has been in disarray with some of our personal properties missing. We witnessed over 25 to 30 police officers entered to search our home,” Sando stated.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Kpelleh Town Community in Bardnersville, Stephen G. Forkpa, has blamed the personnel of the LNP for their failure to inform the Community leadership prior to their search order.
Mr. Forkpa told this paper that he was informed lately after the officers had carried on the search at the home of Africano, but responded to the late invitation from the police only because Africano and his family were members of the community.
“Although, I was invited by the Police to witness the search, but at that time, they had already entered the home, and I cannot tell you exactly details from the search because I was at the back of the house with the children,” Stephen G. Forkpa stated.
Meanwhile, Police spokesman, Sam Collins has refuted claims by the family of Africano of Police mistreatment. He further stated that evidence in the possession of the Liberia National Police showed photographs and videos during the search process.
Police Spokesman told our paper that Africano H. Freeman and several others were indicted for their alleged involvement in US4.4m fraud at the First International Bank-FIB, but failed to show up at court, allowing the Sky International Insurance Company to be held in contempt by Criminal Court C Judge, Judge Peter W. Gbeneweleh.