In Cllr. Scott’s Case: Investigation Encounters Unanticipated Delays
Recent developments arising from the attack on the home of former Chief Justice, Cllr. Gloria Musu Scott, suggest that the investigation into the matter is encountering unanticipated delays, which could create a dark cloud over the conclusion of the matter. As it is said, “Justice delayed is justice denied.”
The home of Cllr. Scott was attacked on Wednesday, February 22, 2023, resulting into the death of her niece (daughter), Charloe Musu, and wounding of Alice Johnson and Gertrude Newton.
The day after the attack, Cllr. Jerome Verdier, Executive Director of the International Justice Group, named Varlee Telleh, an officer of the Monrovia City Police (MCP), as the doer of the act, implicating Mayor Jefferson T. Koijee as the mastermind behind the dangerous episode.
On Tuesday, February 28, 2023, the Inspector General of the Liberia National Police (LNP), Col. Patrick Sudue, declared Telleh a person of interest, and he was accordingly turned over to the LNP the next day by Mayor Koijee, as Koijee had promised to do when he reacted to Cllr. Verdier’s allegation in a press statement.
The alleged suspect, Telleh, has denied the allegation and denounced having any interaction with the former Chief Justice. Telleh claimed that Sheikh Sackor, his former business partner, is the one providing fake information to Cllr. Verdier to falsely accuse him because of his past record of actively taking part in the brutal civil war.
However, it has been exactly one week since the attack, but the victims, Cllr. Scott, Alice Johnson and Gertrude Newton, are yet to provide any official statement to the investigation. Besides them, it was said that there were two private security officers at the house during the night of the attack, but none of them has made any comment to the public since the incident.
There has been a press statement in the public domain, which is claimed to be from the family of Cllr. Scott, reacting to the LNP’s Spokesman, Moses Carter, that the stranger who was identified among the contractors hired by Cllr. Scott to do some work at her home was the perpetrator of the crime. The Hot Pepper is, however, yet to ascertain whether or not the press statement was actually from Cllr. Scott and her family, as it had no authentic signature.
Inquisitive about why the victims are yet to say anything to the public, the Hot Pepper endeavor to understand the underlying factors causing them not to do so, as it could have given the investigators a clue on how to continue, if not conclude, the investigation. It could also provide direction for the investigation to name more persons of interest.
But their posture of not talking to investigators since the incident occurred could render the case inconclusive, and the investigation could go on until after the 2023 general and presidential elections, with members of the public holding on to their individual perception as to who is the perpetrator of the atrocity.
It is a fact that there will be a deep flop in any conclusion without the victims providing a detailed statement of the incident: they are the only eye witnesses; they are the only ones who could possibly recognize the culprit; and they are the ones who can provide the information needed to conclude the investigation.
During the investigation, the Hot Pepper was informed that the LNP has made many attempts to speak to the victims, beginning the day after the incident, but are yet to make any breakthrough in getting a single explanation from any of the victims. According to the paper’s sources, who preferred not to be named, Cllr. Scott first informed the police that she had not entirely recollected, and so she could not speak to them. Days after, she told the police that she needed her lawyer before she could make any comment.
The paper was also told that Cllr. Scott had scheduled the LNP for Wednesday, but later informed them that the appointment be postponed due to some women going to sympathize with her.
Her delay is coupled with the accuser being out of the country and not providing any substantial evidence to indict Telleh for the incident. As Liberia’s jurisprudence dictates, the burden of proof lies on the accuser, and in this case Cllr. Verdier is the accused; as such, he is with the sole responsibility to prove, beyond doubt, that Telleh committed the crime.
Fortunately or unfortunately, Cllr. Verdier has vowed to prove his allegations and even go to court if the need be. Now that Telleh has surrendered himself to the police, there is no other time so good for Cllr. Verdier to unleash the facts.
But the case will still need the testament of the victims before it can come to a logical conclusion. “Maybe Cllr. Scott is being threatened by hidden killers not to say anything, and if that be the case the state would have to take full responsibility for her security and wellbeing,” one of the sources stated. Investigation continues.