The Judge of Criminal Court ‘C’ at the Supreme Court of Liberia yesterday, January 20, 2023 was forced to adjourn the prosecution of those linked to the US$100 million drug trafficking case over the Ministry of Foreign Affairs failure to secure translators for two of the defendants.
However, Judge Blamo Dixon of Criminal Court ‘C’ decision came after the ministry informed the court of its inability to secure translators for co-defendants Malam Conte, and Makki Admeh Issam.
As a result, Judge Dixon then ordered the clerk of the court to prevail on Foreign Minister, Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah to forward a diplomatic note to the Embassy of the United States of America for said assistance.
Judge Dixon at the same time also called on the public and the Defendants by and thru their lawyers to scout for interpreters to translate from Portuguese language to Arabic language and to English language and vice versa.
It can be recalled that defense lawyers requested the Court for interpreters in both Portuguese and Arabic as some of the defendants could not speak or understand English.
Furthermore, the defense lawyers requested the court to grant an opportunity for the defendants in persons of Malam Conte and Makki Ahmed Issam who are not English speakers to have an interpreter so as to make them stand trial.
The defendants’ lawyers added that in order for them to be afforded an opportunity to intelligently follow the proceeding in court, the court should order the engagement of two interpreters, one for the Portuguese language and the second for Arabic language.
The defense team noted that their request is supported by law as provided for in “Chapter 21, section 21.4 of the Civil Procedure law and also applicable in the Criminal proceedings.
They added that the request is made in good faith for the purpose of ensuring that the defendants are accorded equal protection of the law and are treated equally before the law, and based on the request made by the defense team, the Judge immediately granted the request.
It can be recalled that on October 1, 2022, one Oliver Zayzay, a Liberian national, and some of his foreign associates were arrested after seeking to purchase what appeared to be a shipping container full of fresh frozen pig feet along with the US$100 million cocaine bust from a refrigerated storage facility in Monrovia.