The Monrovia City Court has reordered Oliver Zayzay, one of the key figures named in the US$100 million cocaine bust, to return to jail at the South Beach Central prison in Monrovia.
Stipendiary Magistrate Jomah Jallah in his ruling said, “It is hereby directed that defendant Oliver Zayzay be returned to custody at the Monrovia Central Prison.”
Magistrate Jallah noted that the decision by his court to have Zayzay readmitted to prison was due to an application filed by the state prosecution, which added the charge of money laundering to the offenses of criminal conspiracy and criminal facilitation that Zayzay had been charged with, which now makes it difficult for Zayzay to secure a bail.
About five days ago, Zayzay had been freed from the jail in a move that has drawn condemnation from the public since it was seen as a major defeat in the government’s fight against narcotics trafficking/substances.
Nevertheless, the release was contingent on Zayzay and his legal team obtaining bail for his day-to-day appearance during the trial “because the then crimes of criminal conspiracy and criminal facilitation that he was charged with by the authority of the Liberian National Police (LNP) qualified him for that (bail).”
The accused was arrested along with Makki Ahmed Issam, Malam Conte, Mustapha Baldeh, and Adulai Dibril Dialo and subsequently charged by the police with the crimes of unlicensed importation of controlled drugs or substances, substance drugs trafficking, money laundering, criminal conspiracy, and criminal facilitation, as per Chapter 14, Sections 14.101, 107 and 111 Chapter 10.2 and 10.4 respectively, of the new penal code of Liberia. Now, he is no longer in prison.
“Look, besides, Zayzay who was released because of the crimes of criminal conspiracy and criminal facilitation, the other defendants are still in jail,” the magistrate said when Zayzay’s lawyer argued over his additional crime of money laundering.
“I ordered Zayzay released because of the crimes that qualify him for bail. Now, since the state prosecution decided to add to the offenses the crime of money laundering, I am ordering him to go back to jail,” Jallah said.
Under Liberia’s current laws, drug smuggling is an offense for which suspects can get bail, providing that a valid criminal appearance bond is filed, which is then cross-examined before a decision can be taken by the President, judge, or magistrate.
Zayzay, who owns Prime Logistics and Supplies, according to an investigation by the state, facilitated the escape to Sierra Leone of co-suspects Issam and Djalo, who are also wanted for the trafficking of cocaine to Liberia.
He used an illegal crossing point via the Mano River under the cover of darkness to escape arrest along with Issam who, according to investigators, was part of the cartel tasked with negotiating with local businesses to buy their container once the frozen goods had arrived at the port in Monrovia.
It can be recalled that the intelligence that led to the bust of the US$100 million consignment of cocaine came when Zayzay and his Brazilian associate entered the office of AJA Group at Bong Mines Pier, Monrovia, asking to purchase an entire container of pig feet on September 30.
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