Liberia: Man, 30, Detained for Allegedly Trafficking 15 Persons into Liberia
MONROVIA – A 30-year-old man identified as Abu Kamara has spent his first night behind bars at the Monrovia Central Prison in connection to Qnet International alleged human trafficking case.
Suspect Kamara was incarcerated at the Monrovia Central Prison on Monday by Monrovia City Court Judge Jomah Jallah.
He was sent to jail by Judge Jallah when he was forwarded to the court by the Liberia National Police for prosecution.
He is alleged to have trafficked over 15 children and young adults to Liberia from neighboring countries-Guinea, Sierra Leone, Mali, Ivory Coast, among others.
His arrest resulted from a FrontPageAfrica investigative report on July 21 this year.
In that investigation, FrontPageAfrica uncovered that Qnet International has allegedly been bringing children and young adults to Liberia from neighboring countries under the guise of job opportunities, travel opportunities, and scholarships.
While in Liberia, they are kept in dilapidated compounds in Paynesville, Gardnerville, and other areas in Montserrado County. At one of these compounds, 15 persons are kept in a room. They sleep on mats and must do street hawking for the company for self-sustenance.
Following the publication, the Liberia National Police immediately raided the institution (Qnet International) offices in Paynesville City.
During the raid, over 10 persons were arrested, detained and later released to their lawyers.
Among those arrested and detained was suspect Abu Kamara, now defendant in the alleged trafficking case.
After the raid, victims of the alleged trafficked victims were relocated to a safe hotel in Congo Town.
According to the police charge sheet, between January and February, the victims were brought into the country by Defendants Abu Kamara, Yusuf Konneh, Keifela Kamara, and Ousaman Kamara.
The police also revealed that the victims were made to believe that a company in Liberia, Qnet International was hiring them and would give them lucrative salary for their services once they paid cash and come to Liberia for job.
The investigation also established that each of the victims did pay cash to defendant Kamara and his accomplices toward their employment, totaling USD$13,650.00.
“That those defendants, Yusuf Konneh, Keifela Kamara and Ousman Kamara identified at-large, between January to February, were residing in Guinea, Ivory Coast, and Mali respectively. While there, they used defendant Abu Kamara as their contacts person in Liberia and collected cash from the victims for employment in Liberia.”
“Defendant Kamara rented single rooms in Neezoe Community and had the victims living there in harsh conditions. Since the victims came to Liberia, they have not gotten employed neither have they received any compensation from their host. Defendnat Kamara collected their travel documents to include passports and laissez-passez from them to prevent their movement.”
Defendant Kamara, prior to his incarceration, declined to comment on the allegation.
However, speaking to this paper at the time of his arrest, he said the allegation levelled against him is false and misleading.
“I don’t know about that. I didn’t take money from anyone and I didn’t bring anyone in this country. Someone else brought them and the person left them here and go. So, I am not the one who bring them here,” Kamara explained.
Responding to a question, how he knows that someone brought them into the country, he replied” Because we work together. The person (Yusuf Konneh) that brought them here and we were working as a team.”
“I went for them in Duala because my friend that sent them here only told me that “look for room my children, who are am coming to you. Go and pick them up and put them somewhere I will be back.”
Responding a question, why the children were coming into the country for, he also replied, “He (Konneh) told me the children were coming to work, to do business. Network marketing business with Qnet International.”
According to Kamara, his work mate who brought the children to Liberia is currently in Guinea.
“I can help the police to arrest the man if it is possible because the man is not in Liberia here, he’s in Ginuea now,” Kamara said.
Meanwhile, Qnet International, the company that is the heart of the case, is still undergoing investigation by the Liberia National Police Zone 3 Detachment in Congo Town.
It is unclear whether the company (Qnet International) will also be charged with the same crime (Trafficking).
However, sources close to the investigation as hinted this paper that the company may likely not be charged with trafficking but rather fraud and theft of property despite been linked to the allegation of trafficking.
“I don’t think the police will charged Qnet of human trafficking despite the numerous complaints from the public, with evidence that Qnet International has brought and is still bringing people in the country under the guise of job, scholarship, and travel opportunities,” the source said.
The source further stated that the crime of fraud will surely lie against the company because the company is doing illegal business in the country.
“The business description on the business certificate of the company’s carries the sales of retail sale of clothing, footwear, and leather but rather it is doing business like online marketing, selling of watches, chains, and other businesses that are not in the business certificate,” the source added.
However, amid all of the rigmarole, the fate of the victims of the alleged trafficking is still in limbo, as they are yet to be compensated and sent back to their respective countries.