Jucontee Thomas WoewiyuThe U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Federal Bureau of Investigation agents, who arrested Jucontee Thomas Woewiyu last week described the former Liberian Minister of National Defense a ‘flight risk,’ meaning he would escape to Liberia if the bail was accepted.This latest development followed a decision by a U.S. judge to deny him (Woewiyu) bail. This also means that Woewiyu will remain in detention until a new motion is file by a reputable lawyer on his behalf; but no date was set for any motion, this paper has learnt.The former spokesman of the disbanded rebel National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) was arrested last week at Newark Airport upon his return from Liberia.He was subsequently charged with ‘perjury’—lying on his citizenship application by failing to disclose his alleged affiliation with a “violent political group in Liberia” during the height of the country’s civil crisis, which lasted over a decade. Woewiyu served as Defense Minister in Charles Taylor’s former rebel NPFL, during Liberia’s civil war. Upon his arrest, his immigration lawyer, Raymond Basso, said his client amended his citizenship application to include his participation in the Taylor regime. But Linwood C. Wright, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Philadelphia, said Judge Judith Faith Angell denied bail, “because she believed Woewiyu might try to leave (runaway) from the U.S. should he be bailed.“There was a detention hearing and Woewiyu was ordered detained by a U.S. Magistrate. The magistrate found that he (Woewiyu) was a ‘flight risk,’ and so she ordered him detained pending his trial,” Wright said.Raymond Basso, Woewiyu’s immigration lawyer, told VOA last week the case against his client was purely an immigration matter, and that it was a “misconception” (mistaken belief) to suggest that he was being charged with war crimes.Basso said he was confident his client would be exonerated because, although he made a misrepresentation in his first citizenship application, it was later modified to include Woewiyu’s participation in the Taylor regime.Wright said the case is an immigration issue based on Woewiyu’s misrepresentations and non-disclosures under oath regarding his background.“For instance, one of the requirements was that he names all the organizations that he’s been in, political organizations, and he did not report that he was a member of the National Patriotic Front of Liberia,” Wright said.According to him, Woewiyu also checked “No” when asked in his application whether he had ever advocated, either directly or indirectly, the overthrow of a government by force or violence.“Another question was whether he had either directly or indirectly persecuted any group for a number of reasons, including political opinion and social affiliation and he said “No” to that. Of course, the grand jury determined that he was the minister of defense for the NPFL. There was a question with regards to persecution of groups that supported former President (Samuel) Doe when Doe was in power in Liberia,” Wright said.Woewiyu pleaded not guilty at his detention hearing to all counts against him, including perjury and four counts of fraudulent misrepresentation in immigration applications.As the case stands, a barrister in Liberia has told the Daily Observer that Woewiyu would eventually be charged with ‘war crimes’ and be prosecuted accordingly.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
An Enmore, East Coast Demerara family has been worried since Monday when 15-year-old Vilma Anant wentMissing: Vilma “Kamini” Anantmissing.Guyana Times understands that Anant, commonly known as “Kamini”, is a Fourth Form (Grade 10) student of Apex Academy. The teenager reportedly left for school on Monday morning but upon arriving at the gate, she turned around and left – and has not been seen or heard from since.Speaking with this newspaper, Anant’s uncle, Vijay Sukhdeo, explained that “Kamini” had been living with them since she was little. He said the teenager’s parents had resided in Mahaica Creek, but separated years ago so he and his wife took in “Kamini”.“She come live with us from since nursery to now and we never had any problems like this before,” the worried man related.Sukhdeo recalled that on Monday morning “Kamini” sat down to have breakfast with the family and all seemed to be well with her. She then left for school. He noted some time after they got a call from the school asking about her.“Because it’s a private school, they would call home whenever a student does not show up. So the teacher called home and asked about her and I told her that she left to go to school, but the teacher said she wasn’t there,” the man noted.He added that later in the day when the school bus returned to drop off students, they enquired from the driver and he confirmed that he dropped the teenager off in the morning.Sukhdeo went on to relate that he visited the school on Tuesday and was shown footage from Monday morning. “Mr Ali showed me the video and we see her going up to the school gate and then she turn around and left,” the man said.The cameras did not extend to the road, so it cannot be said where the young lady could have gone from the school’s Atlantic Gardens, ECD location. According to her uncle, there was no one with his niece at the time nor did anything seem to be amiss with her.Furthermore, the man said that on Monday after the young woman failed to return home, the family contacted all her relatives and friends, but no one had seen or heard from her.A worried Sukhdeo explained to this newspaper that his niece was a quiet individual and had never caused such a problem. “I don’t know what happen … I really can’t say why she would disappear like that, we never had any problems with her… this is the first time something like this happen,” he said.The family is pleading with the teenager to return home as soon as possible, and is also requesting members of the public with information on the whereabouts of 15-year-old Vilma “Kamini” Anant to contact them on 616-6345 or the nearest Police Station.