Lead state prosecutor Cllr. Martin admits
The ongoing alleged hijacked or stolen container case at the Civil Law Court ‘A’ at the Temple of Justice on Thursday, July 9, took a dramatic twist when the State lawyer and Montserrado County Attorney, Counselor Edwin K. Martin admitted releasing the controversial container and its contents to the Montserrado Group of Industries, owned by a Lebanese national, Houssel Kaffel.
Initially, the government placed a stay order on the releasing of the container pending an investigation into a complaint of criminality filed by a Guinean Company, Agid Sariu Seige Medina Dispenser BP against Kaffel, who is also a contractor for President George Weah’s multi-million dollar properties. The container was said to have been loaded on February 28, 2020, and later departed Istanbul, Turkey for Conakry, Guinean and was shipped to Guinea on March 1, 2020, by one Raze Arhaven, an Iranian born Turkish national and general manager of Aria Gida MADDI Sanvet, a company based on Turkey.
But the container was reportedly tracked in Madrid, Spain, after Raze changed the original bill of lading that contained the ownership and destination of the Guinean Company before being shipped to Kaffel, which the Guinean company is holding the government responsible for allegedly facilitating theft by Kaffel. Defending the government’s non-involvement into the matter, Cllr. Martin said, though, they and the Guinea Company agreed that the container case should be decided by the court after their investigation, which did not happen.
Instead, the government unilaterally released the container to Kaffel without any court order. Cllr. Martin further argued that they lifted the stay order imposed on the release of the container shortly after their investigation established that there was no criminality on the part of Kaffel in regard to the contention raised by the Guinean company. “We decided to redirect the container to Kaffel when Mr. Raze informed the investigation that it was Kaffel who funded the balance payment of the container, while it was en route from Madrid, Spain to Guinea,” Cllr. Martin argued.
However, the Guinea Company had argued that it facilitated the process and Mr. Raze issued them the original copy of the bill of lading for the container to pick up from Turkey to Guinea, which upon arrival in Spain was diverted by Raze to the Montserrado Group of Industries.
“There is no criminality on the part of Kaffel or the government facilitating anything; we did not inform the Guinean company when we released the container because their claim of criminality was far from the truth and therefore we have to release it to Kaffel,” Martin argued.
Cllr. Martin, therefore, asked the court to exclude the government from answering to any of the accusations and to allow it to go free–an argument the Guinean Company rejected and subsequently pleaded with the court not to accept Martin’s request. Meanwhile, Judge Kennedy Peabody, after hearing the argument postponed his judgment to an unspecific date.