By James Butty
Liberia’s main opposition party, Congress for Democratic Change (CDC), is denying that there is an arrest warrant in the United States for its leader and presumptive candidate for president, George Oppong Weah.
The Liberian online publication FrontPageAfrica reported that a court in the U.S. State of Georgia issued a warrant for Weah’s arrest for child abandonment and failure to pay child support.
Court withdraws the arrest warrant
Mulbah Morlue, vice chairman for operations and mobilization for the CDC, says that warrant is no longer in effect.
“The speculation that there is an arrest warrant for Mr. Weah quoting court sources is just not true. While it is true that a court document published on the 18th talked about the warrant, but also the same court issued another document that neutralizes or withdraws that court file of 18 April 2016. So as we speak, there is no arrest warrant for Mr. Weah,” he said.
Morlue said the case in the Georgia court is politically motivated in order to diminish Weah’s popularity ahead of the election.
There was a child support petition filed
Kenna White, the clerk of the court for criminal hearings of the Newton County Court in Covington, Georgia, confirmed to VOA that a petition was filed by Meapeh Gono Glay, the mother of Weah’s 10-year-old daughter. The court official also confirmed that a hearing has been scheduled on May 11, 2016. According to one account in FrontPageAfrica, the court had ordered “the father shall pay child support in the amount of $1,000.00 per month commencing May 1st, 2016 to be paid on the 1st day of each month, and continuing every month thereafter until further order of the court”.
A document shown to VOA shows that on February 25, 2016 one Laureen J. Mullins, Weah’s attorney, paid $162 to the court, “authorized by my client for the needs of the minor child”.
Party does not deny Weah is the father
Morlue admits that Weah has had a relationship with Miss Gono Glay and does not deny fathering a child.
“It is a normal relationship. As with any couple anywhere in the world or people who have had interaction in the past. So regarding his child, Mr. Weah has always cared for children, not just his own but children of the world, children of Africa, and Liberia. So he cannot be the kind of person that abandons a child as is speculated in the complaint filed by the individual,” Morlue said.
Weah will run for president
Last Thursday, Weah accepted a petition from tens of thousands of his supporters to run for president in the coming 2017 general elections. Weah, who is now a first-term senator for Montserrado County, first ran for president in 2005 and came in second to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. He ran again in 2011, this time as a vice president to Winston Tubman and again his party came in second to President Sirleaf.
Morlue said the case in the Georgia court is politically motivated by people he called “domestic state actors” to try to diminish Weah’s popularity ahead of the election.
“Madam Gono Glay happens to be the former secretary general of the Alternative National Congress party (ANC) that broke away from the CDC influenced by domestic state actors to try to diminish the popularity of Mr. Weah and the CDC. But how be it, we respect the rights of children, we respect the rights of women. So we are not going to be castigating her. We simply want to provide details that Mr. Weah is not wanted anywhere in the world and there is no arrest warrant for him,” Morlue said.
Morlue wants retraction of story
He called on Rodney Sieh, the publisher of FrontPageAfrica, to retract the story which claimed that an arrest warrant has been issued for Mr. Weah. Morlue says the action of the court on 26 April 2016 withdraws the warrant of 18 April 2016.
Morlue said he knows of no record showing that FrontPageAfrica publisher Sieh made any attempt to contact Weah or his party for reaction before publishing his article.
When contacted by VOA in Monrovia, Sieh said he made several attempts to get a reaction from Weah or the CDC, but he implied that there was an effort by some in the party to suppress the story.