Justice Minister Sannoh’s First Major Case

first_imgThe brutal rape and murder of 12 year-old Musu Morris in Brewerville last Sunday was the subject of the last paragraph in yesterday’s editorial.  We made a strong appeal in that paragraph to the Ministry of Justice and the Liberian Judiciary to handle this case “efficiently and expeditiously  . . .  in order to send a strong message to such wickedly demented people that they will be punished for such heinous acts.”On the front page of yesterday’s edition our Women and Family page producer, Claudia Sara Smith, wrote a detailed story about this most tragic crime allegedly perpetrated by the 49 year-old man whom the victim pointed out to her family before she died. The suspect, Musa Kromah, is commonly known in Brewerville as “CDC Musa”.We think the Ministry of Justice and the Liberian Judiciary have a very serious case on their hands.  Here is an opportunity to show that there is justice in Liberia.In addition, Counselor Benedict Sannoh, our newly appointed Justice Minister, has been landed his first case of barefaced Police cruelty and negligence.   On the night of the rape, the hapless parents took Musu from hospital to hospital and they all refused to admit and treat the severely assaulted child because they said she was “bleeding too much.” Understandably, bleeding is one of the signs of Ebola infection and the medical staff may have turned the child away for that reason.  But it begs the question, where were their PPEs to do an examination of the victim?  But then here is another deeply disturbing phenomenon:  the cruel and inept police behavior.  After being refused treatment by both Redemption Hospital in Monrovia and Faith Clinic in Brewerville, the deeply distressed and hapless parents continued their rush for medical treatment for the bleeding child.  They decided next to try the John F. KennedyMedical Center (JFK) in distant Sinkor.  But when they got to the police checkpoint at the old Ministry of Health on Capital By-Pass, they were reportedly stopped by police who arrested the car.  The parents and driver pleaded with these policemen to allow the car to reach the JFK with their bleeding daughter, but, said Edward Johnson who represented the parents, the Police at that checkpoint “got aggressive and started getting violent with us.”Unable to reach the JFK, the bewildered and terrified parents returned to Brewerville, by which time the child was in her last moments of life.The parents also said that on the very night of the crime, they immediately reported the incident to the Brewerville police who they say did nothing about it and attempted no investigation.Justice Minister Sannoh has a very serious case on his hands and is faced with a two-fold investigative challenge: first, getting all the facts of the case, ensuring that the accused is kept in police custody and does not escape until the case lands before a judge; and second, the behavior of the Police in Brewerville and at the old Health Ministry Check Point.What will it take for our Police officers to recognize a life-threatening case when they see one?  Where is their professionalism, their commitment to serving the public interest, their compassion, most especially in the case of a life-threatening attack on an innocent child?  Had the police responded to the report of the rape and even accompanied the family to the hospital, young Musu’s life may have been saved. You mean our police have no compassion, no real concern about a wicked crime committed against a 12 year-old girl?  These officers should not forget that they, too, have daughters, sisters, wives, mothers and sons who could be the victims of the hideous crime of rape.We pray that the Prosecutors in the Ministry of Justice and the officials of the Liberian Judiciary handling this case, will remember that God has given them daughters, too.  We further pray that Justice Minister Sannoh will not rest until this case is effectively and successfully presented to the courts and that justice, at long last, will NOT be delayed.  We do not want the file of this case pushed under the pile until three years later when the President, showing up at the Central Prison, will spot the culprit and tell him you have served your turn and are free to go.We hope that Gender Minister Julia Duncan Cassell, too, will immediately take a very serious interest in this case and follow it until justice is fully and decisively served.   Beyond that, the Gender Minister must work in close collaboration with MOH, LNP, MOJ and the plethora of NGOs and civil society entities to provide more prevention, protection and response to rape and other crimes against women and children.         Before she ended her Cabinet Retreat yesterday, even the President should have said something about this terrible   tragedy.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Housing project gets new life

first_imgHACIENDA HEIGHTS – A housing project near Schabarum Regional Park that started 10 years ago is back on track. The 47-home development had been stalled for the past two years as the firm, Pacific Communities Builder, revised its plans to allay concerns from residents and planners, said company President Nelson Chung. He said the planning process for this project has taken an exceptionally long time. “Most other projects couldn’t be like this,” Chung said. “If they were, I’d be broke.” The company has to resubmit its plans, update its environmental review, go before the planning commission, and hold public hearings, said Susan Tae, acting supervising regional planner for Los Angeles County Planning Department. Some residents, however, wonder what has taken them so long, especially when it looked like they would be breaking ground two years ago, said Mike Hughes, who serves on the Hacienda Heights Improvement Association. Residents have in the past expressed concern that the homes would block their views of the hills and they would see an increase in traffic, said Hacienda Heights resident Barbara Fish. “This is a very beautiful hillside, and the hillsides are already filling up enough with houses,” Fish said. Hughes said nearby homeowners don’t want to see the land developed. “The big thing is people that live there would like to see that area as open space,” Hughes said. The property is on 114 acres, and close to 80 acres will be used as open space, said Bob Henderson, chairman of the Puente Hills Landfill Native Habitat Preservation Authority. “The plan has always been that they would donate the undeveloped lands as wilderness open space,” Henderson said. “It is certainly better than having all the land developed.” The project has taken on several faces since its inception in 1997, and even before Chung took hold of the land. The previous owner had plans to build 200 homes. The plan was again revised in 2004, Chung said, to appease the concerns of residents. The number of oak trees that will be removed has been reduced from 120 to 60. Grading will go from 690,000 cubic yards to 506,700 cubic yards, the lot sizes will be smaller, and the number of homes will go from 50 to 47. “There was no justification for knocking out three units, but one of the planning commissioners said it is an act of good will to do that,” Chung said. Chung started Pacific Communities in the 1980s, and since then has built thousands of homes in Southern California. [email protected] (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2477160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe joys and headaches of holiday travel: John PhillipsThe project retreated in 2004 after residents pleaded with the developer to lessen the impact to the hillsides, including cutting back on the number of homes and alleviating potential traffic impacts. County officials suggested taking time to review some of these concerns and work them in to a revised plan, which Chung said has taken years to do. “Basically, all of our approvals were subject to certain modifications,” Chung said of the planning commission’s comments in 2004. “The modifications are easy to say, but hard to do.” The property is at the end of Apple Creek Lane. Chung said they are still at least a couple of years away from breaking ground. last_img read more