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Liberia's Ministry of Health Official Momolu Sirleaf Accused of Rape




Ministry of Health official in Liberia and journalist, Mr. Momolu V. O. Sirleaf, who is commonly known in the media circle as ‘VO,’ has been accused and charged for “committing the crime of Statutory Rape in violation of the statute.”

According to the Writ of Arrest in possession of this newspaper from the Paynesville City Magisterial Court, VO, who is now being detained at the Monrovia Central Prison (MCP) awaiting trial, is charged in violation of Section 14.70 of the New Penal Code of Liberia.
The writ further details that the incident occurred in the Kendeja Community, where the 11-Year-old child had lived with Mr. Sirleaf when he allegedly took advantage of her.
“The Republic of Liberia by and through the assigned city solicitors has charged you, the herein named defendant with the commission of the crime of rape in violation of the statute. The victim was living with you and your wife, who is her aunty."
"When her aunty was in Ghana, you defendant firstly began to finger her,” the Magisterial Court says in its Writ.
It adds: “You defendant will call her in the room and have sex with her against her will and consent, thereby committing the crime of Statutory Rape in violation of the statue. The alleged act of you defendant is being criminal, wicked and intentional.”
Chapter 14, Section 14.70 of the Penal Code of the Republic of Liberia states that: “A person, who has sexual intercourse with another person (male or female) has committed rape if he intentionally penetrates the vagina, anus, mouth or any other opening of another person (male or female) with his penis without the victim’s consent; or  if he or she intentionally penetrates the vagina or anus of another person with a foreign object or with any other part of the body (other than the penis), without the victim’s consent.”
Before the matter had gone to court, the child’s mother, Ms. Amie Sheriff, had gone on social media—facebook— to seek the attention of the public, including President George Manneh Weah.
“With tears in my eyes, I am pleading with President Weah, the Justice Ministry, women groups and women of Liberia to please give me and my 11-year-old daughter justice."
"  Mr. Momolu V.O. Sirleaf, an employee of the Ministry of Health raped my 11-year-old daughter while she was under him and his wife’s care.”
VO is no longer in active in the main stream practice of journalism. He now works at the Ministry of Health.
According to the victim’s mother, Ms. Sheriff, who presently resides in the US, with the help of her brother, filed a formal complaint with the Liberia National Police’s Children Protection Unit on February 21, 2018. 
According to Ms. Sheriff, the Women and Children Protection Unit and social workers of the Ministry of Gender, referred her daughter to go for medical examination and the report confirmed that the child had been raped.
“Mr. Sirleaf has claimed that nobody can touch him because of his connection in government, so I am calling on President Weah to please intervene in this case to see that Mr. Sirleaf pays for his crime,” she pleads in a video.
When FPA reporter visited the Liberian National Police Women and Children Protection Unit, she was told that Mr. Sirleaf was arrested Tuesday, March 20 and was sent to prison where he spent the night.
The next day, Wednesday, he was forwarded to the Paynesville Magisterial Court at the Paynesville City Hall.
When FPA arrived at the court, Mr. Sirleaf was seated on a bench, which is known as the “prisoner bench,” while people waited around for the judge to arrive.
This newspaper seized the moment to speak with the accused very briefly.
He admitted that the child did live with him and his wife but vehemently denied ever raping the little girl when she lived with them two years ago.
“This is a family feud that I am just caught up in the middle. The lady, who is saying I raped her daughter, is the younger sister of my wife and based on my wife’s help, she went to the U.S."
"She is still there up to present. But it all started when I sent US$6,000 to my wife’s sister to buy me a car from her boyfriend, who sold used cars in the US.
"She bought me a junk car that was of no use, so I demanded that she refund my money or I was going to take her to the law. "
"Because she did not have the money to repay, this is why she is framing me up,” VO said.
He sweated profusely as he spoke with this newspaper. He further narrated that the little girl left his home since February 2016 and now after two years he is being accused of raping her.
“I am accused of raping the child, based on a medical report done in 2018 and not 2016."
"Why was the medical report not done in 2016 when they said I raped the girl but waited to get a 2018 medical report that says the child was raped when she was no long in my care but had left to live in another place?
How can a medical report done in 2018 be used for 2016?” he asked.
The uncle of the victim, only identified as Hassan, further accused VO of deflowering the child when she was in his care.
Explaining how he knew the child had been molested, he said when he came from the United States right after the inauguration of President Weah on January 22, he decided that the child go live with him.
She moved in with him and he took her to the hospital after she had complained of stomach aches.
“When I took her there, the doctor said she had chronic infection because someone had tampered with her and when I asked her, she said it was her Uncle Momolu V.O. Sirleaf. "
"So if a child was a virgin and lived with the uncle, and you later discovered that she was deflowered, who would you blame if the child calls the uncle’s name?
So, when I reported the case, the police and SGBV took her for medical."
"The medical reports proved that she was deflowered and had been tampered with,” Hassan told this newspaper.
According to Hassan, VO had sent the child to live with his (VO’s) sister, where he had exclusive access. This couldn’t, however, be verified by this newspaper.
Meanwhile, at the Paynesville City Magisterial Court, the case was never heard and VO was taken back to cell.

Source: FrontPage Africa

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