Liberia: Corrections Officer Booked with Marijuana at Monrovia Central Prison
Monrovia – Robert Philip, working as a corrections officer at the Bureau of Corrections and Rehabilitation at the Ministry of Justice, has been arrested for allegedly found in possession of one kilogram of marijuana. The Drugs Enforcement Agency (DEA) has estimated its value at L$11,856 (US$68).
Report by Kennedy L. Yangian [email protected]
A source at the DEA told this newspaper that Philip, assigned at the Monrovia Central Prison, which is the maximum security prison in Liberia, was arrested by a colleague Corrections Officer Dehmia Jackson on March 27, 2019. Philip had tried to smuggle the narcotic substance into the prison facility for an inmate, Anthony Sopah, who had allegedly given him the amount of L$8,000 (US$45). Sopah is said to be retailing the illegal substance to fellow prisoners, who buy it in smaller quantities parceled to get high.
According to our DEA source, when Philip was asked to be checked by his colleague, Sopah, he refused and decided to walk away. But Jackson reported the matter to three senior officers, who went after Philip and searched him until they allegedly found the banned substance with him.
During a preliminary investigation conducted with Defendant Philip in the prison compound, he told investigators that while he and colleague corrections officers were on their way from a local restaurant from eating, a woman (name not disclosed) approached him and asked for favor to give an undisclosed item to an inmate identified as “Flower”.
“I met a woman outside the gate; she spoke to me, I answered and she asked me to help her give something to her brother “Flower”. I took it from her and brought it in the fence. While entering the gate officer called me to search and I thought it was joke and refused because he and I always joking,” said Philip. According to him, he only got to know that it was a banned substance when his bosses had searched and found it on him.
There are reports that following the investigation, Philip admitted and pled for forgiveness, saying he won’t repeat such an act again.
An apology letter, which was allegedly written by Philip states: “I Robert Philip is appealing to the investigation board to please forgive me, I promise, I will never do such thing again.”
Defendant Philip has been formally charged by the DEA, with the crime of unlicensed possession of controlled substance or drug, a crime in violation of Section 14.107 of the amended penal law of Liberia. He was on Wednesday, May 1, detained pending prosecution at the Monrovia Central Prison following his brief appearance at the Monrovia City Court at the Temple of Justice. The arrest of Corrections Officer Philip comes two months after authorities of the Ministry of Justice discovered a huge quantity of narcotics in various cells at the Monrovia Central Prison during a search routine, though there was no arrest made after the discovery of the narcotic substances.