A Nigerian national who was convicted by Criminal Court ‘C’ after he confessed to smuggling 484.4 grams of heroin with a street value of US$14, 582 via DHL into the country could not hold back his anger yesterday when his sentence hearing was rescheduled for a week.
Defendant Charles Akanlisa wondered what kind of justice system exists in Liberia when a “judge scheduled a hearing and he can’t be found in his courtroom.”
It took minutes for his lawyer, Attorney Richard Scott, to convince the furious defendant to let prison guards escort him back to his cell at the Monrovia Central Prison.
Akanlisa was earlier informed by Judge Emery Paye that his sentencing would have been made yesterday, but the judge did not show up.
Akanlisa was early yesterday morning escorted by prison guards to court with the expectation that he was going to get a lenient jail term due to his initial confession to avoid a prolonged trial.
Unfortunately for him, after waiting for hours in the sheriff’s office located in the courtroom, the judge did not show up, which annoyed Akanlisa.
It was then that Attorney Richard Scott, Akanlisa’s lawyer, arrived and told his client that his sentence would be delayed for a week, which did not go down well with him.
Atty. Scott said the delay was to give the Correction and Probation Bureau at the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) enough time to conduct pre-sentence investigation of Akanlisa’s behavior in his community.
The case began in 2015 when officers of the Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) launched a manhunt for one Comfort Wleh after they were tipped off that she was the recipient of a package shipped from Kampala, Uganda, to Monrovia through the DHL.
She was on her way to the Broad Street, Monrovia office of the DHL where officers had set up to intercept her and take delivery of the parcel.
However, she fled the scene after she was allegedly tipped off by Gabriel Doe and Andrew Nah, employees of the DHL, about her impending arrest.
During her investigation, Comfort Wleh named her fiancée, Uache Ude, also a Nigerian, and Akanlisa as the masterminds of the importation of the substance into the country.
Afterward, they were charged with “unlicensed sale, administration, trading, dispensation, delivery, distribution, dispatch in transit and transportation of a controlled drug,” which is a first degree felony.
But the charges were dropped against Ms. Wleh and Ude when Akanlisa admitted that they had no knowledge of the illegal transaction.