Liberia: Finance Ministry Employee Arrested in India for Alleged Rape
— Victim of the alleged act is 22-year-old Liberian student
If you had thought that the rape trial hovering over Liberia’s Permanent Representative to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), Moses Owen Browne, in South Korea had not done much damage to the image of the country, another employee of the Liberian government has been arrested in India for alleged rape.
Carlos T. Dahn, an official of the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, was arrested last week by Khanna Police in the Indian state of Punjab for allegedly raping a 22-year-old Liberian student. The accused is currently detained while the police conduct further investigation that will lead to court proceedings, our reporter said.
Dahn was granted study leave in 2021 to pursue a bachelor's degree in Commerce and Accounting (B.Com) at the Gulzar Group of Institutes (GGP) in Punjab.
The 22-year-old Liberian student, named withheld, was allegedly raped by Dahn at his rented accommodation in Khanna. The young lady had taken admission to the same college in Khanna. Since she was looking for accommodation, Dahn, her college mate and fellow Liberian native, offered to let her stay at his rented apartment. According to our reporter, on February 3, he allegedly sexually assaulted the girl and also threatened her to prevent her from filing a police complaint.
After committing the crime, he allegedly told the victim not to tell anyone or he would kill her, according to Indian news outlet The Tribune.
Fearing a threat to her life, the girl had gone to Delhi and registered a complaint at the Shahbad Dairy police station.
The Delhi police, after filing a rape case on February 8, sent a letter to their counterparts in Khanna, leading to Dahn being whisked from his home.
Sources told the Daily Observer that the perpetrator got married on January 1, 2023, and stayed in his home with his wife, where he reportedly committed the crime.
According to our source, the survivor currently has some voice recordings of the perpetrator promising to give her money as compensation for his actions after allegedly abusing her.
The survivor’s story
The Indian Express, in its February 19, 2023 edition, said Carlos threatened the survivor to remain quiet or he would kill her.
The case was later transferred to the Khanna police station, which is the local police center.
The survivor, in her complaint, accused the perpetrator of raping her at his home after promising to find an apartment for her since he was her agent.
The India Express quoted the police report as saying, “The survivor in her complaint narrated that she arrived in India on December 27, 2022, and enrolled as a science student at a college in Sangrur.”
Since the college in Sangrur lacked basic facilities, she wanted to change it and came into contact with the accused through her uncle, who thought the accused would help her find a better college and trusted him as he was also from Liberia.
The survivor said that the accused then took her to another college in Khanna, in the Ludhiana district, and her family sent some money so that she could find a place to stay. When she told the accused to find her a flat, he told her to stay with him till he found a place for her.
“I called back home on the night of January 17 and made my parents speak to Carlos and his wife,” the young lady explained. According to he4, the couple told her parents that she would stay with them only for one night and they would find accommodation for her the next day itself.
However, according to the woman, the accused started making excuses on the grounds that he was busy or there was no flat (apartment) available whenever she asked him to find accommodation for her.
“After a few days,” the survivor said, “the accused started sending me inappropriate texts such as ‘I love you’ and I told him that I was not interested in him.”
She said on February 3, the accused and his wife left for the college where they studied. After some hours, the accused returned home when the survivor was alone at the house and raped her. According to her, “when I refused, he forced himself on me and raped me.”
Speaking to different sources in Punjab, Daily Observer has established that the reported rape case has caused huge challenges for African students, most especially Liberians in Punjab.
“We are already having existing problems in Punjab with Indians; so Carlos' action has increased the problem,” said a Liberian student who refused to be named.
Our source said, “Indians are asking Africans to leave their homes because they are saying they cannot trust us to live in their homes with their women.”
Another source said, “As for me, I think the girl did the right thing to report because some girls have respect for their pride. You cannot have your wife living with you in the same house and forcing someone to have sex with you all because you are helping her.”
However, the Association of Liberian Students in India (ALSI) chat room has been heated with debate since the news of the reported rape case was published.
Some are supporting the accused, while others are in sympathy with the survivor. Many of them are saying, “But see her body structure, how can she be raped? To tear that girl's clothes is not a small thing.”
Others are also accusing the leadership of the association of taking sides.
“Adam and Eve started this eating business without forcing and fighting, but now some guys don't know how to hold themselves. Rape is a crime and I don't support. If all this information is true, then he deserves punishment,” one of the students commented.
The Association in a release signed by its President, Bob James Flomo, claimed to have condemned the act, however, they have disclosed their support to both the reported survivor and perpetrator.
“It became a tough moment for us as leaders because the two students need our support on whatever side they are,” the Association's release said.
Like Dahn, two top officials of the Liberian government, Moses Owen Brown, and Daniel Tarr, are facing rape charges in a foreign land.
Browne, Liberia’s Permanent Representative to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), and Tarr, Director of the Marine Environmental Protection Department of the Liberia Maritime Commission (LMC), were arrested on September 22, 2022, in the Port City of Busan South Korea.
The two, who had gone to represent Liberia at an IMO Training Seminar in that Asian country, were charged with multiple counts of sexual assault and joint illegal confinement. They are currently facing trial.