Presidential Candidate in Hiding?

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With less than two months to the upcoming elections, one of Liberia’s 20 presidential candidates on the ticket of opposition Vision for Liberia’s Transformation (VOLT) has gone into hiding, thereby evading justice, as court officials hunt for him, the Daily Observer has gathered. Dr. Jeremiah Whapoe, VOLT’s standard bearer, reportedly fled to the United States recently to avoid being arrested by officials from the Monrovia City Court for alleged “theft of property by deception.” One of the two Nimbaians vying for the Liberian presidency, Dr. Whapoe was ordered arrested by the judge of Monrovia City Court at the Temple of Justice.

A writ of arrest, signed by the assistant clerk of the court, Pewee M. Zayzay, ordered magistrate police Captain Julius B. Swen to execute “the arrest of the living body” of candidate Whapoe to answer to the charge of theft of property by deception. This newspaper gathered that the court’s decision was based on a complaint filed against Dr. Whapoe by one Abraham F. Yarmai, Sr., who Whapoe was indebted to in the amount of US$1,800, which he reportedly borrowed to purchase campaign materials. According to the court document, the defendant, with the intent to deceive the private prosecutor by trick and deception, received from the complainant 90 bags of seed rice valued at US$ 1,800, which he has failed and refused to repay.

“The alleged act of the defendant, being unlawful, wicked, illegal and intentional, is in violation of Section 15.51 of the New Panel Law of Liberia,” the writ stated. Initially, complainant Yarmai channeled his complaint through Mr. Augustine Fayiah, Assistant Minister for Litigation at the Ministry of Justice on July 17, based on a commitment note Whapoe signed on May 12 to repay the debt in the amount of US$1,800 to cover the cost of the 90 bags of seed rice. The commitment note signed by Dr. Whapoe instructed Mr. Yarmai to provide 90 bags of seed rice to his (Whapoe) party’s structure in Gbarpolu County to be used as support to farmer groups in the three districts of the county during this farming season as “a supportive business partner” of VOLT. “I the undersigned, Dr. Jeremiah Z. Whapoe, on behalf of the Vision for Liberia’s Transformation Party (VOLT) at Saye Town, 3rd Street in Sinkor, Monrovia, have instructed Abraham F. Yarmai, Sr., as a supportive business partner of VOLT, to provide 90 bags of seed rice to the party structure of Gbarpolu County to be used as support to farmer groups in the three districts of the county during this farming season,” Whapoe said in the commitment note.

Several visits made to VOLT headquarters in Sinkor in an effort to get a word from Dr. Whapoe were in vain. The NEWS newspaper was told that the presidential candidate was out of the country. However, a source alleged that Dr. Whapoe might not return.

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