An 81-year-old man was amongst several inmates that were freed from detention at the Monrovia Central Prison (MCP) and other prisons in Lofa, Bong, Maryland and Grand Gedeh Counties by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf yesterday.
Pa Borbor has been imprisoned for several months awaiting court trial after he was charged with the commission of the crime ‘statutory rape’ by the government.
Another inmate, 80, only identified as Pa Reeves, was also amongst 32 inmates that President Sirleaf granted the Executive Clemency. He was also charged with statutory rape.
The President’s decision is part of her presidential clemency that is held during the festive season, which is now seems to be a tradition of the Liberian presidency.
The inmates were charged with various crimes ranging from rape, statutory rape, manslaughter, murder, burglary, armed robbery, criminal facilitation, attempted kidnapping; and drug related crimes were released based on medical conditions, age, exemplary conduct in prison; while others have served nearly all their sentence with a few months remaining.
However, Borbor and Reeves were in joyous moods after the Liberian leader told them to go home and sin no more. She also urged them to go home and re-unite with their families
Other beneficiaries of the presidential clemency are between the ages of 19-81 with some having served up to eight years, while others were just detainees.
This was during President Sirleaf’s regular pre-Christmas visit to the MCP to express her usual concern for those citizens who are in prison. There are 834 inmates detained at prison, some of who are convicted criminals while others are awaiting trial.
The Liberian President granted the clemency yesterday in Monrovia when she visited the facility. Upon her arrival, several inmates, who have been accustomed to the president’s visit especially at such a time, began shouting for her to have mercy on them.
Speaking to the former inmates after they were assembled before her, President Sirleaf said, “Based on the recommendation of the Ministry of Justice, you all will be freed.” She urged them to go back to their communities and be good, law-abiding citizens.
Among them are Allen Rogers (65) was serving a 10 year sentence for rape. He had already served eight years and had two more years to serve; Momo Dakaweh (47) had served three years and six months for manslaughter and had one year remaining; Joseph Walker (69) and Weegie Kokolo (64) were serving sentences for statutory rape. They were released due to old age.
Jackson William (75), Pa Reeves (80) and Pa Borbor (81) were all serving terms for Statutory Rape. They were pardoned because of old age.
Others were James Doe (76) was serving a 10-year sentence for rape in Grand Gedeh County, but had only served two years and six months. He was pardoned because of old age; while Bah Mamadou (31), a Guinean national was serving a six year sentence for armed robbery in Grand Gedeh County. He had served five years and five months. He has been pardoned and will be deported to his country of origin.
The head of a local religious organization, Prison Fellowship–Liberia, Rev. Francis Kollie expressed gratitude to the Liberian President for granting clemency to the 32 inmates. Rev. Kollie, whose organization works with the Ministry of Justice in counseling and empowering inmates, promised that his organization will work in rehabilitating the freed inmates as well as teach them skills so that when they are fully rehabilitated they can go into society and contribute to its development.
There are additional seven inmates to be considered for presidential clemencies, but according to prison officials, they require in-depth Post Sentence Investigation (PSI), secure mental and psychological services and reintegration exercise before they could be released.
President Sirleaf has made it a tradition to grant presidential clemencies to inmates at the national prison each year, especially during the festive seasons. These usually include inmates that are held for minor crimes and others who have nearly completed their sentences. These also include inmates who exhibit exemplary behavior.
Meanwhile, a Correctional Officer, Kolako Jackson, speaking on behalf of his colleagues, appealed for a to the President for a bus to transport them to and from work; they also appealed that academic achievement and the merit system be considered, in terms of promotions, which is not the case at the Bureau of Corrections.
Officer Jackson disclosed that 69 newly trained correctional officers have yet to receive salaries after working with the institution for the last 90 days and have not been factored in the Ministry of Justice’s budget for fiscal year 2014-2015.
In response, Justice Minister Cllr. Benedict Sannoh, who accompanied President Sirleaf to the Monrovia Central Prison assured the corrections officers that though he had only recently assumed the mantle of authority, he was working with the Ministry of Finance to rectify the problem relative to the 69 correctional officers who have not been captured in the fiscal budget.
The President thanked the corrections officers for their service to the country and wished them a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. She shared gifts with the corrections and police officers, cooks and nurses assigned at the institution.