Liberia: 7 Guineans Charged with Human Trafficking in Grand Gedeh County
... As 7th Judicial Circuit Court in Grand Gedeh County dismisses similar charges against Qnet
While the Criminal Court ‘C’ is prosecuting a woman identified as Retina Capehart, for allegedly trafficking several Liberian girls to the Middle East state of Oman, another court, the 7th Judicial Circuit Court, in Grand Gedeh County, has also indicted about 7 Guineans of trafficking in persons (TIP).
Judge George S. Wiles, said, that the defendants were said to have orchestrated the trafficking by convincing their victims into believing that they were registered as independent representatives (IRs) or distributor of Qnet, to Grand Gedeh County, and collected an unspecified amount of money from the victims, to offer them good job in Liberia.
Before the arrest of the Guinean nationals, Judge Wiles said, an investigation conducted by both the Liberian National Police (LNP) and Liberia Immigration Services (LIS) led to the Zwedru Magisterial Court to charge the authority of QNet with multiple offenses that include; trafficking in persons (TIP), theft of property and forgery, in November 2021.
Following their arrest and subsequent indictment, the lawyers representing Qnet contested the charges against them, and asked the Circuit Court to dismiss the indictment.
It was based on the request that Judge Wiles dismissed the indictment against Qnet.
In dismissing the Qnet indictment, on March 24, 2022, Judge Wiles ruled that all the charges, that include; trafficking in persons (TIP), theft of property and forgery, against Qnet Limited (Qnet), are hereby dismissed without prejudice due to the lack of evidence to connect Qnet to the allegations of trafficking in persons (TIP).
“The case was against some individuals, most of whom were Guineans and allegedly registered as independent representatives (IRs) or distributors of Qnet,” Wiles said. “Rather, they purported themselves to be registered IRs or distributors of Qnet to misuse the Qnet name for their personal benefit and gain, which in turn led to Qnet being unduly indicted on those allegations.”
However, the Guineans were subsequently charged for the alleged TIP offenses and subsequently indicted by the Grand Jury of Grand Gedeh County, in their own names or personal capacities.
Meanwhile, the Zwedru Magisterial Court has also dismissed similar charges against Qnet and confirmed that there was no probable cause or any evidence connecting Qnet to any allegations of TIP.