Liberian War Crimes Court advocate, Emmanuel Savice has accused “Seward Briggs [as] one of the rebels assigned with President Weah that tried killing me on the day of the rally. He was the one that stole my money and my cellphone. This guy kicked me in my ears several times.” Mr. Savice said on his Facebook page. “Another name is the Kadaffi guy who is also a former rebel. As we do our investigation, we will bring you their names and pictures. This was forwarded to me by one of their own who told me that I am being followed and my line is tapped.” The war and Economic Crimes Court advocate said.
If Emmanuel Savice’s allegations are true that persons with human rights record and former combatants are in the elite presidential force, the Liberian Listener has uncovered that FrontPageAfrica [FPA], one of Liberia’s main daily reported in February 2018, that an influx of untrained ex-combatants was being recruited by President George Weah newly inaugurated administration. Prime amongst these recruits was one of Charles Taylor’s henchmen and bodyguard Benjamin Yeaten’s “aide[s] among [the] Bad Apples [that were] Resurfacing,” in the elite presidential guard, which was restructured and trained by former President Sirleaf.
Said the FPA: Among them is Spencer Kollie, who was fired for an unprovoked discharge of EPS weapon at a drinking place on the 72nd Boulevard in Paynesville in 2017. Kollie, according to an eyewitness who was present, offered drinks to people he met at a local drinking spot. During discussions over drinks, an argument ensued and the officer pulled his service weapon and started shooting.
“Everyone ran; he was so drunk that he left the weapon on the counter and left. He got in a taxi and went to Sinkor and broke into someone’s room and he had a total black-out. He never remembered what transpired that night. His weapon was later turned over to the EPS by the owner of the bar where the incident occurred. He was charged to court as directed by the former Director and President Sirleaf.” Despite the incident, Kollie has been reinstated by the new administration of the EPS. All those that were fired or reassigned for cause are also being reinstated, according to sources.
Thomas Swen, another former officer retired by Sirleaf and listed on the EPS pension payroll, has been mysteriously brought back by the new EPS administrators. He is said to be a friend of Wolo, the Deputy EPS Chief. The pair reportedly worked together when the EPS was SSS under the brutal regime of Samuel Doe. Matthew Coker, another officer who was demoted due to lack of performance and involved in a gasoline scandal has now been promoted and put in an administrative role.
Seward Briggs, believed to be a former driver and right-hand man for Benjamin Yeaten, the former Presidential security commander to Taylor, has been appointed Unit 54-D which handles operational plans and movement of EPS officers,” the Frontpageafrica report said, adding that In late January , President Weah named Trokon Roberts, a former SSS officer, a high school graduate, with no management or administrative background as head of his security detail.
The Liberian government concerned about these damaging allegations, the Ministry of information and Culture Affairs in a release in a March 2, 2018, said: The Government of Liberia has clarified that two senior members of President George M. Weah’s security detail, Seward Briggs and Kwee Hne Wart, alias Wolo; who are both accused of being unfit to provide protection for the Chief Executive, still enjoy his confidence.
Contrary to reports by some elements of the media that the duo have ‘bad human rights record’ due to their service in past administrations, the government says both Seward Briggs, Assistant Director for Operations and Kwee Hne Wart, Deputy Chief of Motorcade of the Executive Protective Service (EPS), have provided security to the President [presidency] for more than a decade, prior to his ascendancy as President.
According to a Ministry of Information Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT) release, the allegations against the two men are inaccurate and erroneous – and are only intended to raise national security concerns over the safety of the President.
The government release said, the two men have no human rights violation records, but are rather dedicated patriots who are providing professional service to their Country, through the EPS.
The release further said, the government sees the media as a key player in the democratization of the post-conflict nation, and is, therefore, calling on journalists to carry on their duty in conformity with the best ethical practice. Journalists have a sacred obligation of ensuring that the public receives factual, balanced and accurate information at all times; falling short of this could erode public confidence and undermine the essence of the free press, the release said.
“What is interesting in the ministry’s release was it neither refuted the media reports concerning these very damaging allegations levied against the recruitment of ex-combatants of warlord turned president Charles Taylor’s men into the elite security force paid for by the Liberian taxpayers”, said a newspaper paper reporter in Monrovia, adding “the country is trending on perilous times. Meanwhile, Mr. Savice has said he is suing the Liberian government for the violence meted against him by President Weah security