President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has granted Executive Clemency to 50 prisoners, among them, former Presidential Motorcade Commander, Perry Dolo.
Mr. Dolo was a police officer arrested with huge quantities of illicit drugs in a presidential motorcade.
Dolo gained his freedom along with 50 other inmates, including a Nigerian and a Ugandan who were jailed for drug-related offenses.
The rest of those set free yesterday by presidential clemency were detained at various prison facilities across the country, including the Monrovia Central Prison (MCP) facility at South Beach.
Of the 50 inmates, 23 are from the MCP in Montserrado County, while the rest were located at prison centers in Nimba, Lofa, Maryland, Bassa, Bomi, and Sinoe counties.
After touring the prison facilities yesterday, President Sirleaf told those pardoned to go and live as better citizens. She further warned them to go and sin no more, because if they resurfaced in prison, they will no longer have such opportunities to gain their freedom.
“Go home and spend the festive season with your members of your family in peace, but do not get involved in crime of any kind,” the President told the freed inmates as they all beamed with smiles and expressed regret for their misdeeds.
Those freed are people who committed what the President termed as “minor or bailable offenses.”
The President insisted that those that committed heinous crimes such as murder, rape and armed robberies, will not enjoy presidential clemency, adding, “These are non-bailable crimes under the law.”
President Sirleaf urged them to become good and productive citizens as they have been provided a second chance to put their lives back together.
In his update of the MCP, Justice Minister Benedict Sannoh told President Sirleaf that the facility currently hosts 999 inmates. Of the prisoners, 821 were classified as “pretrial detainees,” while 178 have been convicted for various crimes and have been sentenced, some for life.
Minister Sannoh also said 69 percent of the inmates were in for rape, murder and armed robberies.
It may be recalled that in November 2013, the Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) in collaboration with other joint security officers at the Liberia/Sierra Leone border in Tienne, Grand Cape Mount County, burst a new drug cartel and arrested Perry Dolo, who was using a presidential escort vehicle with the inscription “ESCORT ONE,” for smuggling 297kg (654lb) of compressed marijuana worth nearly US$50,000.
Arrested along with Dolo at the time were another LNP officer Cyrus Slewion, an unnamed Sierra Leonean, a Guinean National and another Liberian.
The head of DEA, Anthony K. Souh, at the time of the arrest, disclosed that Commander Dolo had constantly used one of the presidential escort vehicles, marked “Presidential Escort,” to import illegal drugs from Sierra Leone into the country.