Africa-Press – Liberia. Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIGP) Prince B. Mulbah has fired back at his superior, Inspector General Col. Patrick Sudue, through a letter addressed to the Minister of Justice, Cllr. Frank Musah Dean Jr. The letter, dated December 5, 2023, highlights a deepening rift within the Liberia National Police (LNP) leadership.
The controversy revolves around the handling of the accident that occurred on November 20, where a vehicle plowed into jubilant Unity Party supporters, leaving three dead and 25 injured. Lawrence K. Williams, the driver, was later identified as the suspect in the case. The incident prompted an immediate investigation by the LNP’s Public Safety Division, with the Crime Services Department (CSD) joining in to explore potential criminal intent.
However, the disagreement between the top brass of the LNP came to light when Inspector General Sudue expressed his disappointment in DIGP Mulbah’s alleged unilateral decision to press murder charges against the suspect without thorough consultation and adherence to legal procedures.
In his letter to the Minister of Justice, DIGP Mulbah defended his actions, accusing Sudue of exhibiting poor and mediocre leadership and suggesting a personal vendetta against him. Mulbah claimed that the decision to charge Williams with murder was based on a thorough investigation conducted by the Crime Against Person Unit (Homicide Section) and had the approval of the Minister of Justice.
Mulbah: “To briefly address the baseless attempt by Col. Sudue to define my alleged role played into this case as disappointing, I see it as a show of shared hatred for me and a manifestation of a very poor and mediocrity leadership being exhibited by IG Patrick T. Sudue over the years: The Crime Against Person Unit (Homicide Section) is under obligation to probe cases of death/murder, Aggravated Assault/ Simple Assault and including any and all manner of crimes against the safety of persons and institution. We receive investigative reports and provide guidance based on what is presented to us and forward same to authorities including the Inspector General of Police. It has not been a normal practice under Patrick Sudue’s supervision where police charge sheet will be approved by me or him before a case is sent to court. What he receives at a later time is investigative reports that come through chain to my office and over to his (Col. Sudue’s) office.”
Furthermore, Mulbah accused Sudue of neglecting regular administrative or operational meetings within the LNP for over three and a half years, fostering a lack of communication and coordination among the leadership. He emphasized that the case was not a matter of political rivalry but a national concern, dismissing Sudue’s insinuation that it was a CDC vs. Unity Party issue.
In response to Sudue’s allegations of mishandling the case, Mulbah attached a copy of the investigative report to the letter, urging the Minister of Justice to convene a meeting with the entire LNP leadership to address the ongoing issues within the institution.
Mulbah: “It scares me and I am surprised for the IGP to say he didn’t know anything about the case going to court on criminal charges. On Friday, November 24, 2023 the investigators led by ACP Anthony T. Blaye came to my office to brief me on the status of their investigation. They informed me that they were set for criminal charges against suspect Lawrence K. Williams. I asked them to convince me why he should be charged criminally rather than with traffic offence. They did as evident by the attached copy of investigative report. I immediately called up to IGP Patrick T. Sudue and told him what the officers had said. I even suggested “Negligent Homicide”, but the IGP insisted that if the investigation has established criminal culpability, we should go with “Murder”, instead. “If the investigators have established criminal case and state suspect’s intent/motives, then let’s charge him with murder,” he asserted.
He also instructed me to inform the Hon. Minister of Justice, ClIr. Dean about the case and how we intended to conclude same. I did reach out to the minister who cautioned me that if we can prove criminal case against the suspect then, we should charge him appropriately and have a press conference to the effect. I tried to get back to IG Sudue, but to no avail and the issue of hibeous corpus was at stake, something we had to avoid. I do not normally brief the Minister of Justice until I am instructed to do so by IG Sudue. In his absence, we (deputy IGs) brief the Justice Minister through the Deputy IG for Administration, Hon. Sadatu L.M. Reeves who always acts in his stead”.
Inspector General Sudue, in his own communication dated December 1, expressed frustration with the lack of transparency in the process, citing irregularities in the investigation. He called for an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the forwarding of the murder case to court without his knowledge and requested evidence supporting the murder charge.
Col. Sudue highlighted the following missteps in the investigation:
That the investigation directly linked the suspect to the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) as found in the investigative findings counts 3 & 6 which does not have any bearing on this case, without even contacting the party to authenticate his membership;
That, it is unclear how the investigation derived its conclusion on the claim of gear failure as indicated in count 12 of the investigative findings when the vehicle was totally burnt in the incident;
That, the premise that the investigator based its findings and conclusions in the case was a mere insinuation and assumption that there was indeed a motive of monetary benefit which was never established as found in count 24 of the investigative findings to derive a murder charge was erroneous and will not lie in court;
That, a writ of arrest on suspect Lawrence K. Williams was issued on Saturday, November 25, 2023 prior to the case file being presented to the court on Monday, November 27, 2023. Sir from my worth of experience, the case file was to be accepted by the court, returns are given before the issuance of a writ of arrest. However, in this case, the writ was issued on Saturday and the case file was forwarded to the court and returns received on Monday, which was in the reverse.
Col. Sudue urged the Minister of Justice to intervene and institute an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the forwarding of the murder case to court without his knowledge. He also requested that evidence supporting the murder charge be made available.