By Abednego Davis
Prosecution’s first witness in the ongoing vehicle thefts case involving some Liberians in the United States, yesterday told Criminal Court ‘C’ that the US Embassy near Monrovia exposed the crime.
In his testimony, Saah Saamoi, the commissioner of customs at the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) alleged that he received a formal letter from the Regional Security Office at the US Embassy informing him about two containers heading to Liberia containing stolen vehicles.
To prove their claim, the LRA’s customs commissioner said the embassy, as per customs requirement, submitted title certificates and attached police reports establishing that the seven (7) vehicles were stolen from the United States.
The US report claimed that the seven used vehicles were identified as Dodge Range 1500 valued at US$40,000; AUDI Q-5 valued at US$50,000; and Toyota Raffle valued at US$21,000.
Others were Mercedes C-300 with a market value of US$4,354; Cherokee Jeep valued at US$35,000; Mercedes ML-450 valued at US$60,000; and Jeep Rander valued at US$30,438, Saamoi alleged.
Defendants Armstrong Tony Campbell (who resides in the US) and Sheak K. Brown, general manager of Sheak K. Brown Building Materials, Incorporated of Monrovia, are being tried for the commission of multiple crimes that include theft of property, economic sabotage, smuggling, criminal conspiracy and facilitation in connection with the missing vehicles.
The report on Campbell and Brown’s initial declaration put the market value of the Dodge Ranger 1500 at US$5,400, the AUDI Q at US$4, 919, the Mercedes C-300 at US$4,354, the Mercedes ML-450 at US$5, 900, the Jeep Rander at US$7, 815, the Toyota Raffle at US$6, 787, and the Cherokee Jeep at US$4, 759.
Before that, Saamoi claimed that they confiscated a container with the seven vehicles belonging to defendants Armstrong Tony Campbell and Sheak K. Brown.
The LRA commissioner alleged that when they inspected the container they also noticed that the vehicles they claimed to have been imported had different points of origin from what was declared on the form.
“All seven vehicles were 2014, 2015 and 2016 models. Besides that, the identification numbers declared by the defendants were different from those on the document in our possession,” the LRA commissioner claimed.
“While in the process of penalizing the defendants for false declaration, the US Embassy submitted that letter, which verified that criminality was established,” Saamoi said.
The prosecution’s lawsuit alleges that between July 2016 up to and including October the same year, co-defendants Campbell, Sheriff Lasudo along with others yet to be identified, while in the United States, connived with co-defendant Brown and shipped to Liberia seven vehicles belonging to diverse people in the US – without their authorization or knowledge.
The vehicles were shipped in the name of Sheak K. Brown Building Materials, Incorporated.
“Campbell provided incorrect information about the vehicles to the shipping lines which was placed on the package list invoice, bill of lading and the request for inspection,” the court document alleged.
The case continues.