The first witness for government in the ongoing kidnapping case of an American citizen, Christiana Andrianopoulos on Monday , December 9, told Criminal Court ‘D’ that defendant David Safranu, a Nigerian, played a major role by assisting the other three defendants to leave the country.
“He personally used his brown Cherokee jeep with plate number 866, and drove his colleagues to the border in Grand Cape Mount where they fled the country,” Emanuel Doe Jleeken alleged.
Jleeken is the Deputy Chief of Service for the Liberia National Police (LNP), one of the officers, who investigated the defendant before he was indicted by the grand jury.
Defendant Safranu, together with Niclolus Elijah, Efemy Sixtus Chlders, and Stanley Nnaqmoi Aquzie, were indicted in early 2012 for the crimes of kidnapping, terrorizing, and criminal conspiracy and facilitation.
Unfortunately, the other defendants have left the country prior to Monday’s proceedings.
When Safranu first appeared before the courtroom he denied the allegation, when his indictment was read to him by the clerk of the court thereby joining issue with the government.
Interestingly, the victim, Madam Andrianopoulos herself was not in open court, because prosecution in keeping with law, plead with the court to allow her deposition (statement) to read to the jury.
In his testimony, the witness explained that on September 20, 2012, the defendant received the victim from the Roberts International; Airport (RIA) in an attempt to take her to the RLJ Hotel situated on the Robertsfield Highway, outside Monrovia.
“Instead he took her to an isolated and dilapidated home on the GSA road and placed her in a dark room where he and the other defendants began to search her personal belongings,’” prosecution’s witness further claimed.
“They photographed the victim naked and sent it by email to her fiancée, George Casino, who resides in the United States of America, demanding a ransom of five million US dollars. Of that amount, the defendant was promised between 8 to 10 percent,” the witness alleged.
When the five million could not be extorted, the defendant and his conspirators reduced the amount from five million to one million, of which he was still promised 10 percent.
The witness continued, “When they could not succeed in getting the one million they again reduce it to two hundred and fifty thousand and the defendant still maintained his 10 percent share. It was when the victim was pleading and crying not to be killed, they reduced the money to fifty thousand, and he still maintained his 10 percent.”
“When they got to know that the police were in search of the victim he took the news to the other defendants,” the witness concluded.