(MONROVIA, LIBERIA – Tuesday, December 23, 2014) President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has granted Executive Clemency to 32 inmates from the Monrovia Central Prison and other prisons in Lofa, Bong, Maryland and Grand Gedeh Counties.
The inmates charged with various crimes ranging from rape, statutory rape, manslaughter, murder, burglary, armed robbery, criminal facilitation, attempted kidnapping, and drug related crimes were released based on medical conditions, age, exemplary conduct in prison, while others have serve nearly all their sentence with a few months remaining.
President Sirleaf told the inmates, “Based on the recommendation of the Ministry of Justice, you all will be freed.” She urged them to go back to their communities and be good law-abiding citizens.
According to an Executive Mansion release, the Liberian leader affected the Presidential Clemency on Tuesday, December 23, when she paid a regular pre-Christmas visit to the Monrovia Central Prison to express her usual concern for those citizens who are in prison. Usually, it’s an opportunity to the Liberian leader to use her discretion to grant pardon to some of them. There are 834 inmates confined at the prison.
Among them are Allen Rogers (65) was serving a 10 year sentence for rape. He had already served eight years and had two more years to serve; Momo Dakaweh (47) had served three years and six months for manslaughter and had one year remaining; Joseph Walker (69) and Weegie Kokolo (64) were serving sentences for statutory rape. They were released due to old age.
Jackson William (75), Pa Reeves (80) and Borbor (81) were all serving terms for Statutory Rape. They were pardoned because of old age.
Others were James Doe (76) was serving a 10-year sentence for rape in Grand Gedeh County, but had only served two years and six months. He was pardoned because of old age; while Bah Mamadou (31), a Guinean national was serving a six year sentence for armed robbery in Grand Gedeh County. He had served five years and five months. He has been pardoned and will be deported to his country of origin.
There were others who were considered for Executive Clemency, but require in-depth post sentence investigation, secure mental and psycho-social service and reintegration exercise before being released into society.
Making a short intervention, the head of Prison Fellowship – Liberia, Rev. Francis Kollie expressed gratitude to the Liberian President for granting clemency to the 32 inmates. He promised that his organization will work in rehabilitating the freed inmates as well as teach them skills so that when they are fully rehabilitated they can go into society and contribute to its development.
During the Liberian leader’s interaction with Correctional Officers, Officer Kolako Jackson, speaking on behalf of his colleagues, appealed for a bus to provide them transportation to take them to and from work; they also appealed that academic achievement and the merit system be applied for promotion which is not obtaining at the Bureau of Corrections.
Officer Jackson disclosed that 69 newly trained correctional officers have yet to receive salaries after working with the institution for the last 90 days and has not been factored in the Ministry of Justice’s budget for fiscal year 2014/2015.
But in response, Justice Minister, Cllr. Benedict Sannoh, who accompanied President Sirleaf to the Monrovia Central Prison assured the corrections officers that though he had only recently assumed the mantle of authority, he was working with the Ministry of Finance to rectify the problem relative to the 69 correctional officers who have not been captured in the fiscal budget.
In addition, the Liberian leader thanked the corrections officers for their service to the country and wished them a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. She shared gifts with the corrections and police officers, cooks and nurses assigned at the institution.