3 July 2013

Liberia: Police Storm 'World Trade Center'

A crack team of police officers on Tuesday, July 2, 2013 stormed the premises of the Association of Liberian Professional Secretaries and Clerks (ALIPROSEC) otherwise known as the "World Trade Center," and seized several "fake" documents and other equipment used for producing "fake" documents.

The "World Trade Center" is situated on Gurley, Street, Monrovia. The heavily armed police team, which was headed by the Deputy Director of the Liberia National Police (LNP), Abraham Kromah, ransacked the entire building of the "World Trade Center" and searched several computers and other equipment and in the end discovered some "fake" documents and equipment used for producing these "fake" documents.

The search was triggered by a Writ of Search Warrant issued by Magistrate Nelson B. Chinneh, Stipendiary Magistrate of Montserrado County for the purpose of finding threat, fake/unauthorized printed birth certificates, fake official documents, equipment used for printing these said birth certificates/official documents, guns, narcotic and other illegal substances which are prohibited by law and are said to be in the "World Trade Center".

The Writ of Search Warrant, a copy which is in the copy of this paper, reads: "You are further commanded that upon discovery of the said items to bring them before this Honorable Court in keeping with law and make your official returns and endorse at the back of this writ as to the form and manner of services thereof; and for so doing, this shall constitute your legal and sufficient authority."

Speaking to reporters during the search, Deputy Director Kromah said some of these "fake" documents and equipment used for printing or producing these fake documents were discovered in the process.

But he fell short to state the kind of "fake" documents and equipment that were discovered during the search exercises.

He said such exercise was part of the police legal basis for which it was established.

However, the Chairman of ALIPROSEC, Mr. Trokon Cummings, denied assertions by the police that "fake" documents were found in the premises of the "World Trade Center."

"Nothing of such is to my knowledge. What we do are manual documents such as birthday cards, school grade sheets with the approval of the school. We don't print any high school documents or duplicate them here. We don't fake any government's documents here either," he added.

But there are reports that people from various line ministries and agencies take stamps and other letter heads of their places of employment to the "World Trade Center" for the purpose of duplication.

The search at the "World Trade Center" by the police followed the closure of the Birth Certificate Department at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf last Friday.

According to an Executive Mansion release, the Liberian leader issued the directive following a meeting with officials of the Ministries of Justice and Health & Social Welfare, and of the Liberia National Police (LNP), at her Foreign Ministry office on Friday, June 28.

In issuing the directive, President Sirleaf told the Ministers of Health and of Justice, Dr. Walter Gwenigale and Cllr. Christiana Tah, respectively, and the Acting Director of the LNP, Col. Rose Stryker, that it has come to her attention that existing lapses in the issuance of birth certificates and death certificates are enhancing the incidence of human trafficking in Liberia.

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