Sexual Assault Claim Hangs Over Fahnbulleh By: Yassah J Wright

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Belly a month, after Atty, Mohammed Fahnbulleh, who is one of the Commissioner at the Independent National Commission on Human Rights (INCHR),was accused of been behind a machinic man death, has been again charge with another of sexual assault of one of his female employee. The Monrovia City Court has denied defendant Fahnbulleh, lawyers on a motion to dismiss of a case of sexually assaulting his employee, Beatrice M. Wesseh (private prosecutrix) on June 10, 2022. The decision by the Monrovia City Court, Stipendiary Magistrate Ben Barco, means that Commissioner Fahnbulleh alleged criminal sexual conduct charge will be transferred to the Criminal Court’E’ that have exclusive original jurisdiction over the crimes of rape, gang rape, Aggravated involuntary sodomy, voluntary sodomy corruption of minor, sexual abuse of wards, sexual assault among other. In his denial judgment, Magistrate Barco acknowledged that the magisterial court has no jurisdiction over the crime of sexual assault, one of the main arguments of the prosecutors to have the requisite court hear and determine the allegation against Commissioner Fahnbulleh. Magistrate Barco explained that on or before January 16, 2006, the crime of sexual assault was graded as a second-degree misdemeanor, which suggests that a magisterial court would have had jurisdiction over sexual assault if it were not a sexual offence.

This was Fahnbulleh’s contention to have the case against him dismissed. But, Barco said that the Act establishing Criminal Court “E”, provides that “The Sexual Offenses Division Criminal Court “E” shall have exclusive original jurisdiction over the crimes of Repe. Gang Rape, Aggravated Involuntary Sodomy, Involuntary Sodomy, Voluntary Sodomy, Corruption of Minors, Sexual Abuse of Wards, Sexual Assault and such other crimes as may time to time be added.”  It was based on the act that Barco in his ruling said, Hence, the crime of Sexual Assault is not cognizable before a magisterial court ” Barco went further to rule, “Wherefore and in view of the facts, law and law analysis, Movant’s motion to dismiss the crime of Sexual Assault is hereby denied and Respondent’s resistance sustained, and because this Court has no jurisdiction over sexual assault cases the matter is transferred to Criminal Court ‘E’ ” The case grew when the Republic of Liberia by and thru Beatrice M. Wesseh (private prosecutrix) complained to the effect that on June 10, 2022, at about 9:45 P.M., in Sinkor, City of Monrovia, the Private Prosecutrix, while dancing with her friend, the within named defendant (Fahnbulleh) allegedly and purposely came from behind her and started to play with her breasts and butt, and when she turned around to ask him concerning his action, Fahnbulleh immediately smoked cigar in her (Private Prosecutrix’s) face. Madam Wesseh further alleges that defendant Fahnbulleh is in the constant habit of tailing her at her premises and harassing her for sex in his office, and that despite her refusal, the defendant did send for her on several occasions where he insisted and intimidated her for sex, and even threatened her that if she refused, he would dismiss her from her job, which act the Private prosecutrix says is intended to substantially impair her good reputation, for which she wants Fahnbulleh prosecuted.

It was based on the allegation that defendant Fahnbulleh was charged and arrested for the crimes of Sexual Assault, Sexual Harassment, Menacing and Disorderly Conduct in violation of Sections 14.77, 14.28, 14.25 and 17.3, respectively of the New Penal Law of Liberia. However, when the case was scheduled for hearing, defendant Fahnbulleh, thru his legal counsel prayed the Honorable Court to have the crimes of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment dismissed and stricken from the records of the Court for the following reasons, that the said crimes do not conform with the laws of the Republic, since the New Penal Law is replete with the criminal offences in our jurisdiction.  Victim Wesseh lawyers argued that the crimes of sexual assault and sexual harassment are not crimes defined by the Penal Law, and that the act of prosecution lawyers to create those offenses is in gross violation of the Defendant’s rights; and that Section 1.3 of the Criminal Procedure law provides that a defendant must be charged with offences as found in the l’enal Law of the Republic  Prosecution also called on the Court to ignore and squash defense application on grounds that Sexual Assault is a crime which is defined at Section 14.77 of the New Penal Law.  victim Wesseh lawyers furthered prayed and subsequently asked the court to transfer the matter to Criminal Court “E” as provided by the Act. Also On April 1, 2024, the victim Prince Wreyou father, Mr. Sammy Wreyou, blamed Atty, Fahnbulleh, following a shady vehicle repair deal between the two, on his son’s death. Mr. Wreyou said his son (Prince Wreyou) was allegedly beaten by over eight persons who were allegedly contracted by Com. Fahnbulleh over the repair of his FORD jeep, saying, “The man pay some gay men on 18th Street, headed by one Martia, to arrest and beat my son. He gave Prince his car to fix and while Prince was working on the vehicle, he ordered Martia and his boys to arrest and beat him, because, according to him (Fahnbulleh) Prince ran away with his money.” According to Mr. Wreyou, after arresting and torturing his son Prince, the group called Com. Fahnbulleh who took him to the police, where he met his untimely demise. “Why would Prince kill himself? In fact, there were other people in the same cell and he is even taller than the place they put the rope. So, someone please tell me how it really happened?” he wondered. But Fahnbulleh believes that his stance against corruption at the Commission is causing some of his colleagues to frame him in various scandals to remove him from his post at the INCHR. Accordingly, the 32-year-old man Wreyou detention at the Silent Police Station on the Airfield in Monrovia, was discovered dead by allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself during the evening hours of April 12, 2024 in a police cell that hosted over five other inmates, something that has raised his family, friends and well-wishers’ concerns.

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