17 July 2017

Liberia: Rep. Waylee Released On Bail

Photo: Liberian Observer
Rep. Waylee dressed in jacket and a cap being escorted by police officers to the Monrovia City Court, at the Temple of Justice.

The reported refusal of family members to collaborate in the alleged rape and impregnation of 13-year old Regina Barway by Grand Gedeh County District#2 Representative Morais Waylee, the possibility of the case being prosecuted is seen by many following the case as being very slim.

Regina's family has been unwilling to assist the government in the prosecution of Waylee who the Liberian National Police (LNP) has already charged with multiple crimes including tampering with a criminal investigation, criminal conspiracy, and kidnapping.

Without the complainant - the alleged victim, the LNP does not have enough information to charge the accused with rape.

Rep. Waylee was in police custody on Friday, but was released on bail on Saturday by the Monrovia City Court, immediately after police turned him over to the court.

Waylee's release followed a day of protest by the lawmaker's supporters, including members of the Youth of District #2 from Grand Gedeh County, whose spokesman told journalists that the case against the lawmaker is politically motivated. Several of them held placards that read: "Let Hon. Waylee Be Treated with Respect"; "Hon. Waylee is not afraid of court"; "All charges against Hon. Waylee are not facts till court say so"; and, "Where is the complainant?"

Another group of protesters from the advocacy group 'Safe Cities Women's Forum' under ActionAid Liberia, held several placards asking for justice for the victim. Coordinator Nornor N. Bee told the Daily Observer that they want a speedy investigation and trial to give both the accused and victim justice. Some of their placards read: "Access To Justice For Women And Girls" and "We Want Justice for Little Sister."

"We want to encourage the police to be diligent because if the accused is an ordinary citizen, he would have been in detention by now; but, now that it involves a prominent person, we want the police to treat the case as it would have treated an ordinary person," coordinator Bee said.

There were no arrests during Saturday's protest, and the amount posted as Waylee's bail was not disclosed while the lawmaker continues to deny the allegations.

During investigations, Rep. Waylee and his wife Welleh categorically denied knowing anybody by the name of Regina, even denying having ever seen her following a close look at Regina's photograph presented by investigators.

It was alleged that in early 2016, Waylee's chief driver, identified as Saydee Barway, the victim's uncle, brought the victim from Grand Gedeh County to live with Rep. Waylee after he was elected as a representative.

Although Rep. Waylee confirmed that Saydee Barway was one of his drivers, he, however, alleged that Barway has been sick and in sick bush for the past five years, adding that he does not have his contact number.

The police investigation, meanwhile, claimed that between February and October 2016, the victim lived with the couple at Waylee's King Farm Community in Careysburg, Montserrado County.

"Waylee and wife Welleh know Regina very well, but they denied ever seeing her after Regina's photo was displayed to them," police said during their probe. "Several residents of the King Farm Community, including community chairman Momo Fahn, admitted that Regina lived with the accused," police investigation alleged.

Police allege that the administrator at Regina's previous school, Better Future Foundation Institute, and staff admitted on record that Regina was enrolled at the institution for the 2016/2017 school year.

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