Lawyers representing Mr. Rex Nyanfor have threatened to file a lawsuit against Grand Gedeh County Superintendent, Peter Solo, for allegedly arresting and jailing their client in Zwedru City.
The lawyers also accused Supt. Solo of continually obstructing Nyanfor’s diamond and gold-mining business in the county, especially in the Konobo District near the New Creek Mining Camp.
Mr. Nyanfor holds a Ministry of Lands, Mines, and Energy (MLME) Class ‘C’ mining license, authorizing him to mine in the county.
One of Nyanfor’s legal counsels, Att’y. Arthur T. Johnson, at a Tuesday, November 5 news conference in Monrovia, further accused Supt. Solo of using officers of the Emergency Response Unit (ERU) of the Liberian National Police, (LNP) to carry-out the arrest and detention of their client (Nyanfor).
“In early April 2013, Superintendent Solo led some ERU officers under the pretext of paying a visit to our client’s mining site. They arrested and detained Mr. Nyanfor in Zwedru for no legal reason.
“Not only did Mr. Solo use illegal influence on the police officers; he used the support of the County’s mining agent, Madam Victoria Zulu, to cause our client embarrassment and loss,” he maintained.
According to the lawyer, Supt. Solo constantly threatened Nyanfor’s life, quoting him as saying: “I will get Nyanfor in whatever way, to prove to him (Nyanfor) that I am the ‘president’ of Grand Gedeh County, and my actions are second to none.”
Att’y. Johnson continued: “This behavior in our legal opinion is a gross abuse of both statutory and constitutional rights, because such misconduct was never encouraged by the government, and such action, on the part of a presidential appointee goes against the code of conduct for officials of government.”
“Supt. Solo has always posed as a mining authority, constantly interfering with mining decisions. Accordingly, he has arbitrarily arrested our client and obstructed his activities,” the Att’y. said.
Even after Mr. Nyanfor was released by judicial authorities in the county last October, Supt. Solo continues in hot pursuit of our client, seeking his re-arrest, the lawyer explained.
According to him, they (lawyers) have filed formal complaints to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and other government officials about Solo’s behavior in the county.
“We have filed a complaint against Solo to Minister Morris Dukuly of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and we have made another complaint to Col. Chris Massaquoi, police director, about his officers’ involvement in abusing the rights of our client,” he added. “We are waiting for their responses before instituting our suit against Solo,”
When contacted on Thursday, November 7, by mobile phone, Supt. Solo admitted ordering the police to arrest Mr. Nyanfor, claiming they acted on a communication from the Ministry of Lands, Mines, and Energy, that ordered the fugitive’s (Nyanfor’s) detention on charges of economic sabotage and theft, among others.
“I received a letter from the Ministry instructing me to arrest and prosecuted Nr. Nyanfor in the County, for economic sabotage and theft among others charges.” Supt. Solo said that the communication accused Nyanfor of defrauding the government of US$25,000.”
“Nyanfor holds a Class ‘C’ mining license, but he was doing Class ‘B’ mining in the county. “Besides, Nyanfor was using Class ‘B’ heavy duty equipment, that had left holes as deep as 12 feet in parts of Konobo District,” he claimed.
Supt. Solo alleged that the area Nyanfor mined did not belong to him. “The area belongs to the AMLIB Mining Company and Nyanfor was illegally mining it.
AMLIB has met all of its social responsibilities to mine in that particular area. So, anyone doing business there needs to vacate the premises, since the place belongs to AMLIB,” the Grand Gedeh County Supt. added.
He admitted Nyanfor’s arrest saying, “He is wanted; we have instructed the police to arrest him if he is found in any part of the country. He escaped from prison and we will make sure that he is brought back to the county for prosecution.”
After Nyanfor was arrested, the Sup had taken Nyanfor to the Magisterial Court. However, because of the nature of the case and the amount involved, the matter went beyond the jurisdiction of that Court. It was while waiting for the opening of the higher Court that Nyanfor allegedly escaped from prison, this paper was told.
“Since the matter was beyond the jurisdiction of the Magisterial Court, and the Circuit Court was waiting for the official opening of its November Term of Court, we decided to keep him in prison until it opened,” Supt. Solo concluded.