Threatened with lawsuit for damages
A resident of Nippy Town in the Old Road community of Sinkor, Bai Kayou Kandakai has threatened Montserrado Electoral District #10 Lawmaker, Yekeh Koulbah, with a lawsuit for “unlawfully” and forcefully breaking into his private residence while raiding a ghetto in the District yesterday.
The ghetto raid was carried out with the help of a joint squad of Liberia Drugs Enforcement (LDEA) and National Police (LNP) officers, prompted by numerous alleged criminal activities, including armed robberies greatly affecting residents of the community and its environs.
However, in reaction to Rep. Kolubah’s attempt in bringing relief to the residents of the community, Kandakai said the lawmaker’s mission that led to the destruction of his home was unconstitutional and perpetrated with a high degree of malice and hate.
“I was not here when he (Rep. Kolubah) led police and DEA officers to raid ghettos. But is my home a ghetto, for which he demolished it like this? I am so disappointed in him but my promise to him is that if government does not come in to let him know his limitation and demand him to rebuild my house, I will sue him and he will pay for all the damages and losses he has caused me,” Kandakai warned.
Pointing at the broken house in tears, he said he is not a drug dealer and has no connection with anyone doing such a business.
“It is actually true that we are all threatened day and night by criminals in this community who take in drugs but I am a responsible citizen who is not willing to see this country go backward. I am not involved into this business,” Kandakai said.
He added that after breaking the doors of his three-bedroom house, the Police and DEA officers used sledge hammers and broke some parts of the wall of the building unnecessarily, most especially so when there was no resistance against their search operation.
Kandakai alleged that Rep. Kolubah has kept a grudge at heart against him for several years now, due to his (Kandakai’s) disclosure of Rep. Kolubah’s brother, identified as Zakamah, who he said allegedly stole a tape from a neighbor before and went into hiding to avoid prosecution.
“You know, Yekeh Kolubah is a former fighter of jailed ex-president Charles Taylor and he thinks that we are still in those ugly days. He is becoming authoritarian and disrespectful of state laws,” he said, noting that Kolubah went to his house without a search warrant from the court and without regards for even the community leadership.
He said when Kolubah was a leader of the Special Operation Division (SOD), under the regime of former and jailed President Taylor, he accused Kandakai’s sister of selling drugs. According to Kandakai, Yekeh beat her which resulted in internal bleeding, which later led tot her death in the South Beach prison center.
Alice Kandakai, the wife Bai K. Kandakai said she was in the building with her two sons when she was ordered to walk outside by armed police and DEA officers who spewed insults at her and others standing by, who attempted finding out why they (DEA/Police) were breaking down the house.
“We have lost everything even though they did not find drugs in our house. They carried our flat screen TV which cost us US$280, our US$15,000 and L$45,000 cash,” Mrs. Kandakai said. “They carried not drugs but people’s belongings, including clothes and money. No ghetto was discovered here at all.”
She said it was Rep. Kolubah who pointed at their house and referred to it as a ghetto. “He told them to destroy our house. He is wicked and very evil minded,” she noted.
For his part, the chairman of Nippy Town, Mr. Folley Passawe, said what Kolubah did left more questions than answers.
Passawe said the officers reached the porch of his son’s house and ordered him to make available drugs they accused him of selling.
“Aries Passawe, who is commonly called J. Fah, is right now in the hands of the officers even though they did not tell us what his charge was. I told them that my son is not selling drugs but my words were meaningless to them,” the Nippy Town chairman, who is also a former police officer, said.
He noted that the officers did not find any drugs after their search but took his son Aries away to an unknown location. “They tightened the handcuff on my son’s hand up to number four,” he said.
Passawe said though there was no search warrant, yet the officers were respected; they too should have respected the dignity of the people in whose homes they entered as they went about their search drugs. He said his son is not well but the officers dragged his son away from home without any charge.
“While we welcome Hon. Kolubah’s effort to rid our community of drugs infestation, it is also good to know that he has no right to break into other people’s homes just as he did today. He is becoming too dictatorial just in few months of his operations at the Legislature,” Passawe said, noting further that Rep. Kolubah needs to respect community leadership so that they all can work together in the general interest of the district.
When contacted, the deputy Inspector general of Police, Col. Robert Budy, said the raid operation was a DEA operation, but the Police accompanied them to give them some support in case there was any resistance from alleged drugs users or those said to to be selling them.
“Our concern is to protect everyone but, if few people choose to be responsible for harming society by taking in harmful substances, we will go after them. Our people need to be in peace and live without fear of being terrorized by a few groups of people,” Budy told the Daily Observer.
DEA’s communication officer, Peter Kpadeh, said he could not comment of the raid because he has been out of office for over a week, due to sickness.
Some other residents, however hailed the Police and DEA’s raid and applauded the lawmaker for taking the bold step in pursuing and dealing with hard core criminals and drug users who continue to terrorize the community.
When contacted via mobile phone, Rep. Kolubah said if the affected residents have any claims aginst him, they should take him to court.
“I only accompanied the law enforcement officers because they were carrying out their raiding in my district. I moved with them from place to place in order to identify the ghettos but I did not give orders for them to break into anyone’s home,” Rep. Kolubah told the Daily Observer.
He said he is not afraid of any court proceedings and is prepared to do lots of things he thinks will help the district become a better place.
“As far as I am concerned, that place is a ghetto and I hope the raid continues until most of those people who are harboring the criminals by supplying them with the drugs are exposed, shamed and persecuted according to law,” he retorted, and hung up the phone.