Liberia: One Year On, Morias Waylee Alleged Rape Victim Yet to Be Found

FrontPageAfrica Broke the Story of the Alleged Rape Case in May 2017. File photo

Monrovia – A 13-year-old girl, who was reportedly raped and impregnated by former Grand Gedeh County lawmaker Morias Waylee, is yet to be rescued from her nightmare after a whole year since the incident was reported by FrontPageAfrica.

Bettie Johnson-Mbayo, [email protected]

Waylee and his wife were arrested and charged with multiple crimes including criminal conspiracy in violation of chapter 10.4.

However, due to insufficient information, the Liberia National Police could not charge him with rape.

Their charges also included ‘tampering with witness – a violation of Chapter 12 sub-chapter C 12.40b1 and Chapter 12 sub-chapter C section 12.411, according to the Revised Penal Code of the Republic of Liberia.

Till today’s date, the Ministry of Gender, Ministry of Justice and regulatory authorities cannot give any information about the 13-year old victim, who is said to be in hiding.

Last year, the victim told FPA that her parents knew what happened to her but she was cautioned not to speak to anyone.

“My parents told me not to talk about what happened,” she said in despair.

Recently, Gender Minister Piso Saydee Tarr promised to review the file and reopen the case so as to secure the futures of the minor and infant.

“If the hinges at the legal system we will push for the legal system to push through and if it is something else we will try to study the situation and understand how we can get involved in it,” Tarr said.

But up to today, nothing has been done by Minister Tarr.

Documents obtained from the Monrovia Magisterial Court show that the LNP recommended that the Crime Service Department investigators comprising of Intelligence, Women and Children Protection section be deployed in Grand Gedeh County for a lengthy period with full financial support to dig out information leading to the alleged rapist and his former driver, Saydee Barway.

“That since there are unconfirmed reports that the victim is in the sande society bush in Konobo District in Grand Gedeh County, we recommend that the Ministry of Internal Affairs sent some traditional investigators comprising of Zoes to immediately proceed to Grand Gedeh especially, in Konobo District so as to locate and identify the victim in all the tradition society bushes in the district.”

The police also recommended that the baby and the mother be identified so that they both can be rescued.

The police: “That the assistance of all security apparatus including the Liberia Immigration Service, National Security Agency, Forestry Rangers, The Armed Forces of Liberia, Drugs Enforcement Agency, to join and collaborate with the Police to locate and identify the victim and baby along with uncle Saydee Barway.”

The Police furthered recommended that the Ministry of Health provides the birth records of the victim and her baby at the Konobo Health Center in Grand Gedeh where she reportedly gave birth.

Meanwhile, the investigators said they are exerting efforts to identify more potentials witnesses that will provide information about the whereabouts of the victim.

In last July, lawyers representing defendant Waylee and wife filed an application citing section 12.1 of the criminal law which provides for a defendant to request preliminary examination in the matter.

The preliminary examination was waived by the defendants requesting that the court transfers the case to the appropriate circuit having original jurisdiction over the charges levied against the defendants.

The prosecution poses no objection to the application but was later withdrawn in April of this year, further requesting the court to dismiss the case.

The defendant in their new application said it is over nine months since the writ of arrest was issued and subsequent charges were placed on them, which according to them, is beyond the statutory period allowed by law for the case to be adjudicated by the court.

“Counsel says further that since the prosecution has failed and neglected to prosecute the defendants it is the prayer of the defense that your honor and this honorable court will dismiss the case as a matter of law,” Cllr. Albert Sims suggested on behalf of the defendants.

The request by the defendant’s counsel accordingly is consistent with chapter 18 sub-section 18.2 of the criminal procedure law of 1LCLR, dismiss the entire case and set the defendants free without day and date.

Prosecutors requested continuance of the case to consult with its relevant authority with the view to adequately respond to the motion as proffered by the defense counsel.

Stipendiary Magistrate Kennedy Peabody granted the prosecution request adjourning the case pending the issuance of a notice of assignment.

An FPA reporter’s recent visit to Grand Gedeh County established that Waylee has returned to law practice after he didn’t contest the just-ended elections.

He is currently seen as a public defense lawyer at the Zwedru Magisterial court in Grand Gedeh County pleading before the court on behalf of his clients.

The former Speaker of the children parliament recently expressed dissatisfaction with the Judiciary and security apparatus on the delay in prosecuting defendant Waylee.

Satta Sheriff, who is now the Executive Director of Youth in Action for Peace and Empowerment (YAPE), said she is disappointed in the manner and form the Waylee case is being handled by the Liberian National Police and the Judiciary system of Liberia.

“Today 13-year-old Reggie is yet to be found. What a shame, when we as a nation should be protecting Children, we are busy endangering their lives by being selective in the fights against Rape,” Sheriff said.

“I am intensely saddened by the recent report that the court and prosecution about to dismiss Waylee case from the City Court.”

She continued: “Morias Waylee is no different from all the alleged Rapists who cases have gone unresolved; it is my hope that 13-year-old Reggie will one day be found. Justice may be a delay; it is just a matter of time it would never be denied.”