The transcripts of the trial of Charles Taylor, former President of Liberia. More…

  • [On former affirmation]

  • When we adjourned last night, Mr Taylor, you were telling us how those you were dealing with at the barracks were:

    "Young men who had just come into power and knew nothing about government, knew nothing about international relations, so I am there with them because most of the other progressives were at the ministries and dealing with other members of the council and General Quiwonkpa in the barracks has no one there to help him so I stayed there to help him carry out those functions." Do you remember telling us that yesterday?

  • Now, was there any particularly critical decision that you assisted General Quiwonkpa with during that period?

  • Yes, there is one that stands out. Remember I stated that there was this Major Jebo that --

  • What is his name?

  • How do you spell that, please?

  • J-E-B-O, if I am not - I stand corrected on that. A commander of another formerly trained group that still had not shown up. We now have a situation where it is believed that he just might stage a counter coup, and so most of his men are being, you know, rounded up and are then brought into the barracks. They are there for fear that they just might do something. On the other hand we have intelligence coming in telling us that the rest of the officers corps of the Armed Forces of Liberia are themselves planning a come back.

    Now we are in a dilemma here where you arrest these very trained men because you are afraid of Major Jebo, but you still have on the other hand a group of men that could equally do you harm. So the critical situation that occurred was that I advised that those men be released and then encouraged to begin to put up the security corridor that was necessary.

    Now, let me just make this clear. In the Armed Forces of Liberia, as I guess in most armed forces, you have basic trained soldiers and you have specially trained soldiers. The group that is commanded by Major Jebo is formerly trained and is called the strike force. The new group that just staged the coup is another group, they call themselves the Special Forces and they have just finished their training with what they call live ammunition and they were just about the best trained. So what we sought to do then was to bring the strike force in, encourage them instead of arresting them, and using them to possibly counter any other situation that might have come up.

  • Mr Griffiths, before you proceed may I clarify a word used by Mr Taylor. On page 5, line 9, of the LiveNote transcript it's recorded as "formerly" meaning previously and he has spoken of some people that were trained and on page 6, line 11, it's "formally", meaning properly trained or going through proper procedure. I would just like to clarify which word Mr Taylor intended.

  • Well, I am using "formerly" as to indicate something that had happened before.

  • Thank you. Perhaps Madam Court Attendant could note that for the record.

  • Now did President Tolbert have a son, Mr Taylor?

  • Oh, yes, he did. He had a son and his name was AB Tolbert Junior.

  • Was he married?

  • He was married to the Goddaughter of the President of la Cote d'Ivoire.

  • Her name was - well, her name is Daisy. She is still alive. I remember in my statement yesterday I did mention that after the death of Tolbert, who was chairman of the OAU, some of the tensions that came up was as a result of him being the chairman of the OAU, but equally so la Cote d'Ivoire became anxious because of the presence in Liberia still of the President's, well, we call it Goddaughter, but in Africa it's just about your daughter, was also of concern to him and this was causing more trouble. So he was married to the daughter, I would say.

  • So the daughter was in Liberia at the time of the coup, is that right?

  • And help us, did anything in particular occur in relation to her?

  • On or about the third day of the coup, while we were sitting in the commanding general's office - and when I say "we" let me just say who "we" are. I am there, my fiancee is there and other members of the council. A lady is brought in - and I still remember very clearly in a very yellow dress - and she appears to be pregnant and she is fair in complexion and she is really, really stressed out. I say, "But who is this lady?", and they say, "Oh, this is AB Tolbert's wife." But I was still in the United States and I remembered that AB Tolbert was married to the daughter of the President of la Cote d'Ivoire. I said immediately, "General, general, we can't touch this woman. Turn her over immediately to the Ivorian ambassador and quickly." He said, "Okay, fine, fine, fine", and I personally long with my fiancee escorted Daisy to the Ivorian embassy and turned her over to the ambassador.

  • And what happened to her after that?

  • She was immediately - thereafter the President of la Cote d'Ivoire asked permission for an aircraft to come in, he sent in an aircraft and she was picked up and flown to Abidjan.

  • And help us, to which country did Doe make his first official overseas trip?

  • To the best of my recollection it was to la Cote d'Ivoire.

  • Now, meanwhile what happened to Tolbert's son?

  • AB Tolbert managed to take refuge apparently - and I must say here apparently because news stories put him at several different places - but finally he ended up at the French embassy, accredited near the capital. He was there for a very long time, I would say close to about a year, and intelligence reports and intelligence reports and finally I think it was a cook - and I am virtually sure because I am sure using the word "think" in the transcript may not be proper. I am sure that a cook at the embassy revealed to a friend that there was something funny at the embassy, that food was being prepared and taken into one section of the embassy and they had no access, and there were whispers that AB Tolbert was there. And very sadly and unfortunately before some of us who knew better could intervene - and quite frankly I must say General Quiwonkpa was not a part of this, if not he probably would have listened - orders were given and the French embassy was stormed.

  • By who?

  • By orders from the Chairman of the Council, Samuel Doe. The embassy was broken into against the protest of the ambassador and AB Tolbert was taken out of the embassy forcibly, kept at the central barracks prison for several months and later executed.

  • And help me, as far as you are aware how did the President of the Cote d'Ivoire feel about the death of his son-in-law?

  • Oh, quite frankly President Houphouet-Boigny - and that is one name I am going to depend on you guys to do that - was very, very not just upset, but sad. Imagine your daughter crying on your shoulder, her husband has just been taken out and executed. It was a very, very, very, very sad, sad picture. In fact, it was very serious because after AB was taken from the embassy there were pleas to save him from not just the President of la Cote d'Ivoire, but from so many diplomatic sources. But the senior members of the council decided that they would not have any of that and that their biggest concern was that - in fact, Houphouet-Boigny said, "Well, let me send for him. They gave him to me". And they felt that AB had the capacity, leaving the country to mount a comeback for his father. So they decided that they would not let him live.

  • Now, I asked you about these details for a reason, Mr Taylor. In intervening on Daisy's behalf in ensuring that the President of la Cote d'Ivoire was reunited with his daughter, did that prove useful to you at a later stage?

  • I would say extraordinarily useful. Daisy did explain to her father my personal intervention and that of my fiancee and he was very pleased and I over the years - in fact, during the years of government President Houphouet-Boigny never forgot it and when we launched our revolution in Liberia, at some point - not at the beginning, at some point that paid off in that he was somewhat probably I can describe as being sympathetic to what we were doing and I can only speculate, and I am sure it would not be useful, that seeing Doe in trouble meant that at least at long last he, you know, was getting his pound of flesh back from Dow I guess.

  • And help us, from which country did you launch your revolution in Liberia?

  • We launched our revolution from la Cote d'Ivoire and I want to emphasise here, without the knowledge and/or consent of the Ivorian government. In fact, I mentioned previously in my testimony that we had to buy hunting guns, 12 gauge shotguns, from la Cote d'Ivoire from ordinary markets and even after the revolution was launched I was being sought by Ivorian authorities. So to the extent that we launched it from la Cote d'Ivoire they knew nothing, absolutely nothing about it.

  • One other detail. You mentioned AB Tolbert taking refuge in the French embassy. The French embassy where?

  • And one spelling, Houphouet-Boigny, H-O-U-P-H-O-U-E-T B-O-I-G-N-Y. Now, how long did you remain in the barracks with Quiwonkpa, Mr Taylor?

  • I remained in the barracks for three months. If I may just, your Honours, clarify one thing because I am sure your Honours may know when I say "accredited near" that does not mean that the embassy is outside. It's just what we learn, the diplomatic terminology, or phrase you may call it, that embassies are accredited near capitals. So when I say accredited near it doesn't mean that they are outside of Monrovia, they are in Monrovia.

  • Okay.

  • Very good. I remained in the barracks for three months.

  • During that three month period you've explained how you were proffering your advice to General Quiwonkpa but did you have any formal post within the PRC?

  • No. At the time, no. I was just considered the leader of the group from America, helping in the barracks, with no formal position.

  • Did there come a time when that situation changed?

  • Some three months, as I mentioned, after the revolution, one day we are sitting in the commanding general's office, General Quiwonkpa, and he says to me in typical Quiwonkpa form, "Oh, Taylor do you have a job?" I said no. He said, "Oh my God, but all the jobs are gone". So I said, "Well, no. I have learned that there is a post still available, the director-generalship of the general services administration is opened". So he said, "Okay, great. Then come, let's go".

    Then he took me straight to the Executive Mansion to the chairman, Master Sergeant Doe, and said to him, "Taylor has been working with us and he doesn't have a job". Then Doe said, "Oh my God, you still don't have a job?" I said no. Then he said to him, he said, "Well, he just told me that there's a position open". So Doe said, "Well, would you like that position?" I said, "I don't mind, I will work wherever you send me". He said, "But that is not a ministerial position". I said, "No, it's a director-generalship". So then he says to me, "Well, okay, we will make it a ministry, or at least raise it to a ministerial level".

    The title remained the general services administration, but I was raised to ministerial level where I could attend cabinet meetings. And then, because of my special status as the leader from America, I was invited then to begin attending council meetings.

  • Now, what was the purpose of the General Services Agency or GSA?

  • Yes. The general services administration is modelled after that of the United States. They are responsible for the procurement of government properties. I would say the procurement and the maintenance of those properties. That is all; whether it is from a pencil, to a ship, they are purchased by the general services administration - agency.

  • And did you have a deputy in that role?

  • Yes, I did. I had a deputy that was brought home by me by the name of Blamoh Nelson. That is B-L-A-M-O-H N-E-L-S-O-N.

  • And was he brought on at your request or was he foisted on you by the administration?

  • No, he was brought on by my request. Blamoh Nelson worked with me as secretary-general to the Union of Liberian Associations in the Americas, ULAA, that we spoke about previously. He had worked with me in the United States for so many years but had come to Liberia before 1980 and worked at the ministry of finance. So he was an old union hand, and union that is again ULAA - and old union hand that I felt that we needed. This is a man who really loves paper. He loves working with paper and paperwork, so I felt he could be very, very useful at the agency as my deputy. I requested that, I was granted and he came on as my deputy.

  • Can we pause for a moment.

  • Excuse me. He is presently a senator in the Republic of Liberia.

  • Yes. Can we pause for a moment and seek your assistance with one matter. Can you set out for us, please, the form of the government after the coup. What was the main governing body?

  • The main governing body after the coup was the People's Redemption Council. These were the men that staged the coup.

  • And how many members did that council have?

  • The council had 20 full members. It increased after certain progressives were permitted to attend the meetings, but the council remained steady, about 20 members. They were full fledged members of the council.

  • And who was the chairman of the council?

  • The chairman of the council was the most senior non-commissioned officer, Master Sergeant Samuel Kanyon Doe.

  • So far as the cabinet was concerned of which you became a member, how many cabinet ministers were there?

  • I am going to have to do a little bit of calculation. There was not a very large cabinet. I would say a little under 20. I can name them, but I will have to calculate them. I can name them, I just don't remember the number.

  • Very well. Now, from which parts of the political spectrum in Liberia were they drawn?

  • As I look at the framework right now, it was not from a very wide spectrum because, when you look at the cabinet, there may have been about, I would say, one person that I can almost say was from the Americo-Liberian, another half of a person - and what I mean by half of a person, because I was on the cabinet but I was not a fully Americo-Liberian because I am half and half. But the rest of them were from the aborigine population.

  • In terms of political complexion, was there any kind of split or divide within the cabinet?

  • Oh, definitely. This may be one of the situations that you call, what, strange bedfellows. If you remember, I talked on yesterday about the progressives. You know, I am talking about the Union of Liberian Associations in the Americas. Then we have the Progressive Alliance of Liberia under the leadership of Barcus Matthews who comes to Liberia and forms a political party. Then you have MOJA, the Movement of Justice in Africa. These are all different individuals that have now come into the cabinet and we are in there trying to work, but I did mention, and very carefully, that we all were trying to help these men and then move them toward the democratic process. So, yes, there were these different little hitches but we got along because while we were there and, I mean, jockeying for positions in the future, we did not have any internal conflicts, at least not open.

  • Now, within that cabinet you have already mentioned there was a Dr Amos Sawyer, wasn't there?

  • Amos Sawyer was not a member of the cabinet but he was sent as President of the University of Liberia.

  • What about Dr Henry Fahnbulleh?

  • My good friend Dr Fahnbulleh became the minister of education.

  • And who was the minister of planning?

  • The minister of planning was another MOJA individual, Dr Togbah-Nah Tipoteh.

  • In terms of political complexion, those three men, what part of the political spectrum did they adhere to?

  • They to a great extent, I can say, were Marxist-Leninist oriented.

  • But nonetheless they were within the Doe government?

  • So within Liberia then what was the supreme decision making body?

  • The People's Redemption Council itself.

  • By what method did they rule?

  • They ruled by decree, but not - don't let us forget that we are talking about military people and while there were discussions the most senior officer there are times that you just do not challenge your superior. And so the top, top echelon of the council, that is the Chairman Samuel Doe, the Vice-Chairman, the speaker, the Secretary-General and the commanding general, are at that tier - by tier I mean at that level - would probably make certain decisions and virtually pass it down to the rest of the council because there was a strict, strict military channel and chain of command.

  • Speaking of which, did that fact that this was a military administration have any personal consequences for you in terms of your own status?

  • Oh, yes, it did have consequences. In fact I mentioned that these were young men, but they were smart men. What they ended up doing to all of us, they said, "Great, now that you are a part of a military government we will induct all of you in the armed forces, give you military ranks and subject you to military orders." Now, all members of the council took the rank of lieutenant-colonel upwards. Members of the cabinet were all - and I use the word inducted. I had never at that particular time had any military training. We did not do any military training to get the rank. Up to now I have never had any military training whatsoever. So we were made majors, deputy ministers for administration were all made captains and assistant ministers were made lieutenants.

    Now the intent what they said was that we will be subjected to orders, so when you receive an order you had to follow. So members of the council were then divided up, where each council member or maybe a group of two or three were placed in charge of ministries and agencies of governments, and so they became what they call chairpersons of certain committees that headed certain agencies. So, for example, if you were chairman of the People's redemption Council Committee for Finance, so the finance minister reported to you. Now, I was at the general services administration and so I had a chairperson that I reported to.

  • Who was that?

  • Spell that, please.

  • Now your post as head of the GSA, in terms of power how did that compare with other cabinet positions?

  • Oh, I would say it was a very, very powerful position, very powerful in that I then had the authority to make certain decisions regarding supplies that ministries received, furniture for offices. Everything that had to do with the functions of these ministries, agencies of government, had to come through my agency.

  • And how did you propose to run that agency when you took over?

  • I had read extensively about the operations of the general services administration in the United States and so I set out immediately to try to rein in the agency in terms of being able to save money. At the time that I took over, in fact before the coup, every ministry - every agency - bought its own supply. So, for example, if one ministry wanted say an adding machine he bought a particular brand. So in the Government of Liberia at the time I realised that there were many, many different brands and this was not serving the best interests of government, so I then decided to structure the agency in a way that we will begin to not just save money for government, but to try to standardise equipment and other government items across the board and this caused a major problem.

  • But did that policy work?

  • To a great extent it worked. It gave me - that is what I meant by power. It gave us a lot of power, but it also created a lot of enemies.

  • And in putting through those reforms, were you supported by Doe and the PRC?

  • Now was this some kind of federalised system, Mr Taylor, or was it centralised?

  • We, in our restructuring, proposed the centralisation of everything. The argument was made - and Doe and the People's Redemption Council accepted it - and our proposition was this. "Look, if you standardise there are several advantages. One you can buy what we call bulk material at lower rates. The ability to service the equipment across government, the repairs, would be easier because if you are in an office and you have an Adler - for example, they used at that time a lot of Adler machines. If an Adler broke down across the hall and could not be repaired under any condition then it was easy to take parts from one Adler and fix another Adler, but if you are in one room and a guy next door to you is using a Canon then that's it if the machine breaks down. That would save. So we introduced standardisation. We also talked about bulk purchasing and that brought about tremendous savings.

  • So in terms of the heads of individual government departments, is it the case that hitherto they had made their purchases on an individual basis?

  • Yes, they - and not only made their purchases as individuals, but prices were just so wide apart. One ministry could buy let's say an example let's say a Canon 250 adding machine would be reported for let's just use a rough figure $100, but another agency would probably show $200. So this disparity was a major problem because they bought individually and there were no savings.

  • And in reality, Mr Taylor, what was the real root cause of those kinds of disparities?

  • Well, let's not mince words here. This was just pure evidence of corruption, you know, to put it bluntly, and coming in and trying to correct it this is what I meant by caused some enemies also.

  • Why did it cause enemies? You need to spell this out for us?

  • Well corruption generally is when individuals do unlawful things and steal taxpayers' money and do the wrong things, so it was a way that people made off. They made a living. It was a way that for example a government employee working at any agency, that had a monthly salary of let's say $200, really didn't care if he was in the procurement department because at the end of the day he was making thousands based on the deals he was cutting here and there. We got to find out that the invoices that were being reported through the general auditing office were all made up invoices and in fact deals were made apparently where they were reporting one amount, but actually the real prices were different at the vendor and by vendor I mean the shops that sold those.

  • And so what was the reaction when you brought in a centralised system?

  • As normal with all changes, people resist it, they get angry and they were upset because it meant that, you know, they had lost their little what they call in Liberia one-two one-two and no-one will like that. I guess I am going to be asked later what one-two one-two means. It is just a local little corrupt - when you get your little corrupt thing on what they call the side, they call it one-two one-two.

  • Now, did these or your control extend to for example government vehicles and the use of them?

  • Yes, everything. Government vehicles.

  • And in seeking to control their use, did you come up against any particular opposition?

  • Can you explain that to us, please?

  • Before the revolution every vehicle assigned to an official - a government purchased vehicle assigned to an official government - virtually became his personal property. In the United States GSA vehicles are marked they are government property. In Liberia it was virtually your property. I then decided that what we would do is we would mark the vehicles. I had even gone to the extent to say that after working hours the vehicles should be parked. That was a no, no, "Oh, no, no, to that", but the President - and by President I mean the Chairman of the Council - took the title on as President, so I am referring to Samuel Kanyon Doe, and Presidents before him took what you call trips around the country to hold executive council meetings. This is one of those meetings that I escorted the late President Tolbert on; the same kind of meeting.

    Now - but the General Services Agency is responsible to making sure that the President on that trip had what he needed to use. Whether it was vehicles and we took generators, everything that the President had to use the general services administration had to take it on saying to be used. So I realised that every time we had to take a trip we had to virtually buy a whole set of 4-wheel drive vehicles, and by the end of the trip whoever got those vehicles, say if the ministers were accompanying the President he would think that the vehicle assigned to him as minister had to be kept in such mint condition that he couldn't let it go on a bad road and so he needed another vehicle to take him, but upon return he would try to hold on to that vehicle. So we were just buying vehicles for almost every trip.

    So I went to the Chairman and I said to him, "Look, we can't afford this and so from now on when it's time for your trip all GSA vehicles being used by officials, I don't care who the person is, we will stop them and take the vehicle and use it for the duration of your trip."

    And so there were - and he backed it, so there were some little scrimmages from time to time because a day or two before the trip we would set up road blocks across the city, with the help of the police, and take the vehicles.

  • And were people happy to lose their vehicles?

  • Very, very unhappy. Very, very, very unhappy. That is why I described it as scrimmages would occur. But my colleagues, they were majors. We were all majors. So they couldn't do anything to me. And, again, I had the authorisation of the President, so they just had to complain but stop at some point.

  • But did that make you popular?

  • Very unpopular. Very unpopular.

  • Now, you explained to us yesterday how it was that those who took power came from the indigenous population and from the lower ranks of the army. Now, in terms of them now being in power, did that have any consequences for you in terms of you having to meet their expectations?

  • My name is Charles Taylor. Now, Taylor in Liberia is an Americo-Liberian name. Now, for us at that particular time and some members of the council that understood I also had aborigine background, I was comfortable and they were comfortable. But for a vast majority of the council, and I am talking about the PRC, I was still considered a Congo man. Now, we will probably get into that later, but this whole thing, there are disparities between use of this country/Congo. So I used to make the argument if you say I am Congo because I carry the name Taylor and you know that my mother is also country then you have a problem. So what I was seen as at that time was - some of them said, "Here is this Congo man, who is the head of the GSA, who does not want us to gain some status".

    Let me just explain what I mean by "gain status". When the PRC came to power there was the general belief on their part that now we were down, we are up, so we have to be brought up to a certain social status. That social status had to be in line with what they had seen and what they had experienced in dealing with the Americo-Liberians. So they were calling for things that they felt that they were entitled to because the Americo-Liberians before them had those things.

  • Things like what?

  • Vehicles. They wanted their homes furnished properly and who would blame them? I surely had nothing against that and still don't. They wanted vehicles of the status that other ministers that were Americo-Liberians had in previous governments. They wanted carpets, furnitures, the whole - what we used to say in America, the whole nine yards. Everything that they felt that the Americo-Liberian groups had when they were in power, they wanted that.

  • And who was to pay for it?

  • The taxpayers of Liberia and this is where my problems started where I felt that, yes, while it was proper to do it in the beginning, but some of them just kept extending it and extending it and extending it, so resistance came about from my side and to a great extent Doe backed me on it.

  • Mr Griffiths, sorry, what is the meaning of Congo man? I am not sure I understand.

  • The Congo is the same, your Honour, as Americo-Liberian. They also call it Congo. Yes, just like in neighbouring Sierra Leone you've heard about Krio, the Krios are Americo-Sierra Leoneans if you want to call it. Those individuals are the freed slaves that came back to Sierra Leone and Liberia and they are called - you know, they are a different set. In Sierra Leone they are called Krios. In Liberia they call them Congo people or Americo-Liberians.

  • Now, in your role as head of the GSA, Mr Taylor, did you ever have any cause to come into contact with the United States government?

  • Yes. There was - the United States agency for international development, wanting to assist the government at that time, did a survey of ministries and agencies of government and appreciated what we were doing at the GSA and did say at the time that the GSA was the best run agency of the government.

  • Any other contact apart from that, in your role as head of the GSA?

  • Yes. There was another little contact some time - I mean a little down the road that was, I would say, a little unfortunate but it happened. This had to do with the - there was a piece of property that was being used by the United States Trading Company. The United States Trading Company was just a name given to one of the many little companies that were owned and operated by the Firestone rubber plantation company in Liberia. The United States Trading Company sold American vehicles in Liberia and other American products and occupied not just a building but a large piece of property in the area of Monrovia called United Nations Drive, near the Barclay Training Centre, BTC that I spoke about in my testimony here on yesterday, where the barracks is.

    Now, the United States Trading Company closed down its operations at that property and it was turned over to the Liberian government of which - the general services administration being responsible for securing properties, that came under the general services administration.

    Now, unfortunately - and I really use it unfortunately - the United States government had tried to use that piece of property as a major extension for its intelligence operations where - it was a large piece of property. Let me just say it was situated on, I would say, about a full hectare of land, not just one little lot. But this property is within a thousand metres of the Barclay Training Centre, the military barracks in Monrovia. Unfortunately, because it was owned and operated by the Firestone rubber plantation company, the United States embassy did not get the okay from the General Services Agency before it moved in on the property, had it fenced in and had contracted to a local construction company in Monrovia the contract to renovate and upgrade the property. I objected and said that I did not feel that that property should be used for that particular agency that was supposed to --

  • Which agency?

  • It was just an extension of administrative and other facilities for the Central Intelligence Agency. And so I said that the United States was an ally, is an ally and I would still say is still an ally and I have no problems with them, but felt that even with friends and allies there are still secrets and that for the agency to move so close to the barracks, it was not proper and that we should find another piece of property far from the barracks. They did not like this.

  • Who didn't like it?

  • The United States government. The embassy complained about it and rightly so, I guess, because they had advanced about 300,000, I understand, United States dollars to the contractor who had actually fenced the property in and had commenced work and the work was stopped.

    The complaint was taken to Doe. Doe called me in and I explained to him and he agreed with me, but he pulled a little fast one on me. He then decides that he is going to send the matter over to the then minister of justice, Counsellor Winston Tubman.

  • That's is a name we've heard before.

  • That is correct. Tubman, we mentioned him on yesterday as being at the consulate in New York when I was a student that took it over.

  • So now he is minister of justice, is he?

  • In the Doe government. That is correct. Counsellor Tubman rules that he sees no reason why the United States government cannot use the property. The decision is taken to Doe and what I mean by he pulled a fast one, Doe disagreed with Tubman, agreed with me but made the United States embassy understand that all the matter is with Taylor. And I am sure the United States ambassador should have known that there was no way I could disobey the President's order if he seriously wanted them to use that property. So I was then put on the firing line to keep saying, you know, we can't let it happen and if you have a problem go back to the President. But the President had already told me that they should not have it. So that is what I mean by - so that was the second contact I had with the United States embassy at the time.

  • This is in what year, Mr Taylor?

  • This is around, I would say about - this could be about '81. Late '81.

  • And were there any consequences later for you because of that?

  • There were some pretty mad Americans I know, and probably rightly so they were upset. And I guess this, later on, proved to be why I would say I was on arrested on extradition charges by them. They were pretty angry.

  • Now, I want you to cast your mind back to January 1981. Did anything in particular happen to you in that month whilst in Liberia?

  • We were still going through this country/Congo business. A lot of the members of the council knowing my background knew that I was, if anything, half and half, they knew that, but others did not accept it and there were still, like in all organisations, some hardline members, and some of them succeeded in saying that the Congo people were trying to make a comeback and that I at the GSA was a part of it. So the minister of justice who is still in Liberia, a very wild firebrand, his name is Chea Cheapo --

  • Spell that for us.

  • What is the ethnic origin of --

  • Chea Cheapo is Krahn. I was arrested.

  • What for?

  • Being a part of conspiracy on the part of Congo people, Americo-Liberians, to return to power. I was stripped at my office.

  • What do you mean stripped?

  • Well, no, I was left in my underclothes and driven straight to the barracks and placed in jail.

  • And what happened when you got there?

  • During this particular time I was placed in what they called the post, as in military post, stockade, confused not knowing what was going on. General Thomas Quiwonkpa, the commanding general, was not at the Barclay Training Centre. He was at Harbel.

  • Spell that for us.

  • H-A-R-B-E-L. Harbel is the capital of Mount Gebi, M-O-U-N-T G-E-B-I, County, but is the seat of the Firestone rubber plantation in Liberia. He was sick in the hospital and by this time she is now my wife - I am speaking about Tupee - managed to get a message up to him. He was very upset. He immediately returned to Monrovia, drove to the post stockade, released me, provided for me members of the armed forces for my immediate security and then drove - put the military unit at the barracks on alert and drove to the Executive Mansion really in anger and told the Chairman of the Council that he was very upset about what had happened to me, he knew those that were behind it, it was unacceptable, that he had released me and if anyone arrested me again it would mark an end to the revolution.

  • Now, were any precautions taken for your personal protection thereafter?

  • Yes, I just mentioned he provided me a full military unit of one platoon of 44 men, fully armed, and the reason why he did this he knew - before he went to the hospital he had intervened on several occasions into this Congo, country, Americo-Liberian situation and he knew of the plot against me. So back in his mind he also knew, and I think this is why he took such a strong move - he also knew that I guess Chea Cheapo had obtained the acquiescence of Doe before carrying that out, but that Cheapo was on the front line. So he took these actions against in the back of his mind realising that even though Doe knew, but because Chea Cheapo was front man he took those precautionary movements hoping that Doe would react, I guess.

  • So what was your relationship with Doe?

  • At the time I would assume that Doe and I had no real problems but, because of my days at the barracks, Quiwonkpa and I had grown closer than any other member of the council. Not to say that I was close to a lot of them, but that, I think being together for three months and helping him through the crucial first 90 days, we were very, very close and I married what he would his sister. In the Liberia setting, sister, you know, if you are from the same tribe or ethnic group or area you are a sister or a brother, it doesn't mean biological. But I mean he and other members of the council that were from the Nimba region looked at me highly. And that was another move on my part. There is a so-called Congo man again that is marrying a country woman or an aborigine. That again was very, very pleasing to a lot of them.

  • So in terms of being able to speak to Doe or proffer advice, how did you get on with him?

  • I must be very frank and say fairly well. We had no real difficulties. I could speak to Doe freely. He still looked at me at this leader from America, even though I was working with them, and that I was always fair. So when I had to speak to him very frankly, I did.

  • And did he respect your views?

  • To a great extent I would say at least he listened to my views. Doe by this time is surrounded by a lot of his Krahn, ethnic people, well educated. And so while I know he listened to my views and respected them, but I know that he had to countercheck with very qualified people that he had around him.

  • Now, you may recall telling us yesterday that part of your motivation in lending your assistance to the coup was the hope and ambition that in due course the soldiers would go back to the barracks and there would be a return to democracy. Did you discuss that with Doe?

  • Yes, I did. I did say to him that I felt that he could become one of the greatest Liberians ever. If he, as a young man, a master sergeant, staging this coup, as terrible as it was, the things that happened - if he were to call for elections, return to the barracks, he would look extraordinary. He appeared to agree. He said, "Oh, I think this is a very good idea". I told him, I said, "You know, you will become the national - in fact, you will become the hero of this country".

    But again I say that there were some very qualified people around him and I do not claim to be the only one that may have been advising him along these lines. I can't say for sure. But I am sure, knowing how other progressives thought, I can almost say that others were advising them to return to barracks, elections that people might be able to turn to, you know, democratic rule.

  • And did the master sergeant seem well disposed towards this proposition?

  • Well, in conversations he seemed, but again the end results don't point to that because he didn't return to barracks. He participated and he said he won the elections.

  • And in terms of the foreign policy of the government, Mr Taylor, what course did that take under the Doe regime?

  • Well, in terms of foreign policy, Liberia, like I said, has always been the stepchild of the United States and that's what I meant when I said yesterday that they could do more for us than they have done and I hold this against them.

    Doe has executed Weahseng - I mentioned that on yesterday in my testimony - because of this apparent movement towards this old Soviet Marxist-Leninist situation. This was very pleasing and to - I mean on the part of the United States and they opened up to the PRC and commenced immediately to upgrade their assistance to that particular government and even it continued after Doe was elected. At the time I was not in the country, but from all of the figures that we have seen, during the period from the PRC government to the end of the Doe era, after being arrested by Prince Johnson, the United States had invested a half billion dollars in that Doe government.

    Now, that was more than all previous years combined of all other administrations. So you can just look at that and see if all other administrations combined did not get that kind of assistance and during that short period Doe got a half a billion dollars, it shows that in terms of policy that the United States embraced Doe. Don't let's forget we are still in the Cold War era, so in terms of foreign policy, he, like all previous and I know all future Liberians Presidents, will lean heavily towards the United States.

  • Now, from which ethnic group did Master Sergeant Doe come from?

  • Master Sergeant Doe was from the Krahn ethnic group.

  • And you mentioned a moment ago him surrounding himself with a number of Krahn advisers who were highly educated. Was that indicative of a policy followed by Doe generally?

  • Well, when you look at what was going on at that time, imagine here is a young man, not educated. It was normal for him to try to bring people around him that could probably guide him very well, tribal elements that he felt that would be sympathetic, you know, and what we say literally protect his back. And so he did. For example, I mentioned on yesterday, the minister of state, the most senior member of his inner circle was Dr George Boley. He had a PhD in education, very sharp, a very well educated man, a doctorate from the United States. And there were other members of the Executive Mansion crowd that were also very, very well. He had adviser - the former president of the union, I mentioned his name on yesterday by the name of Bai Gbala. Very brilliant, sharp man. He is also Krahn. And so I guess he needed people that could really protect his back and he did.

  • Now, did your relationship with the master sergeant continue to be amicable?

  • At some point in time there was a little - I would call a little grey area that developed.

  • How did that come about?

  • Doe, upon apparently deciding to stay on in power, realised that he had to make certain moves. Now, General Thomas Quiwonkpa, and any Liberian yesterday, today and tomorrow will tell you, developed to be one of the most respected members of that government throughout. Now, Doe got into a position where he wanted to stay on. Quiwonkpa was one of those that had bought the argument across the board that he needed to return to barracks. General Thomas Quiwonkpa is very strong. He is the commanding general of the armed forces. All the soldiers respect him. The civilian population respect him. He is in favour of a return to civilian rule.

    So Doe decides that he has to make a move by weakening Quiwonkpa's position. He then decides that the only way he can weaken Quiwonkpa is to move him, and it was a smart move - was to move him from the position of commanding general, move him to the Capitol Building, the Capitol Building, the official offices of the People's Redemption Council that had been used by previous legislators, and make him secretary-general of the council which is just an office job, put one of his own Krahn generals in charge of the armed forces, thus making Quiwonkpa weak and unable to do anything.

    Now, Doe is aware that some of us are very close to Quiwonkpa and we will go to any lengths to protect him too. A lot of the members of the armed forces, upon the whispering of this particular move, decide that before this happened Quiwonkpa has the loyalty of the army and the population that Quiwonkpa should remove Doe. All of us agree. I agreed. A lot of us that were close to him agreed that this should happen. So Quiwonkpa now refuses to take the position of secretary-general and there is a stalemate.

    Doe charges that he is what they call in the army - this is insubordination, he said. And what they decide to do then is to put Quiwonkpa out of the barracks, by that I mean the BTC, and that if he did not accept this position he would no longer be commanding general. By this time there is tension developing in the country.

    Those of us that have agreed that Quiwonkpa should not go are standing our grounds and Doe leaves the country and we tell Quiwonkpa, "It's time to make your move". But this was a very nice young man. Quiwonkpa decides that he would do it, but if there was bloodshed involved he wanted nothing to do with it. So those of us that knew Doe decided that we would leave before he returned from Europe and wreak havoc on us. And so I left and others left. Quiwonkpa was eventually placed under house arrest.

  • Now, which year was that, Mr Taylor?

  • Now, when you say you left, you left to go where?

  • I left first to la Cote d'Ivoire and on to the United States.

  • Now, prior to leaving, had you experienced any other difficulties with the Doe regime?

  • Oh, yes. He moved on me also. Doe removed me from the general services administration and sent me over as deputy minister of commerce.

  • Well, he said to me - after he did it I went to him and I said, "Well, why did you move me?" He said, "Well, you know, people are complaining. They are saying that you are taking money from the GSA and giving it to me and that is not true, so listen, Taylor, go to commerce, hold the deputy ministerial position and within a few weeks I plan to remove the minister and you will become minister of commerce".

    But the movement from the GSA to commerce at the position of deputy minister was, in fact, a demotion, because the deputy minister was a captain and I was a major. So you have moved me from a senior position, it was a demotion in fact. So he said, "Well, you can keep the rank because you will not be deputy minister very long. Because of your background, you are an economist, so we will have no difficulties in making you minister". But I didn't wait around for that.

  • Who was the deputy minister at that time?

  • Before - at that time the deputy minister was a gentleman called Clarence Momolu, M-O-M-O-L-U. Clarence Momolu.

  • Did you get on with him?

  • Clarence and I didn't really get along. He was very close to the chairman of the committee that controlled the GSA. The gentleman I mentioned, Robert Nowuku, and they were like brothers because Nowuku was from Lofa County, Momolu is from Lofa also and they were like brothers. So the deal in fact under the whole thing was because the council members thought that I was supposed to be this Congo man not giving them their goodies, the whole point was to bring one of their, quote unquote, own to the GSA. So what they did was to move me from GSA as deputy minister of commerce and move Clarence Momolu from commerce to the GSA.

  • What do you mean "their goodies"?

  • As I explained, wanting to be raised to the level, the constant calling for cars and rugs and furnitures and beds. All of these are things that I mentioned earlier that they thought was necessary to bring them up to the status they believed that the Congo people had before.

  • Now, in terms of the popularity of the Doe government within Liberia, were they still as popular by this stage, the stage you are talking about now, as when the coup originally occurred?

  • I would say no. There is a little tricky thing here that we must understand. Remember I had mentioned that one of the progressives had gone to the University of Liberia, Dr Amos Sawyer.

  • As president?

  • As president. Now, as the years passed the University of Liberia - this is the MOJA man going as president of the University of Liberia. The University of Liberia became a hotbed for ideas. And it was not just Americo-Liberians at the university. We had a large number of people from the aborigine population at the University of Liberia. So what Sawyer tried to do at the University of Liberia at the time was to begin to use the university as his base to begin to put out his own ideas and increase his popularity.

    So Doe is now working against the quasi-academic community. So he is becoming unpopular now not with, quote unquote, Congo people, but people seeing that they needed to move from this military government into a civilian situation commenced buying the idea that they must return to barracks. So over we are talking about a period now of about two years the idea is catching on that they should return to barracks because actually they were not producing the goods that the majority of the population expected of them.

  • The university you say had become a hotbed of ideas. Did that develop in any way?

  • They were - they started minor demonstrations on campus. They started speaking out. And I am talking about the so-called aborigines and a whole bunch of the students were arrested and most of them were from the aborigine population. One of them that was arrested at the time is a gentleman called Commany Wisseh. Commany, I think it's C-O-M-M-E-N-Y and I stand corrected on this. We may have to - Wisseh is W-I-S-S-E-H.

    Another that was arrested during that time is a gentleman called Ezekiel Pajibo. That's Ezekiel as normal Ezekiel. I think it's E-Z-E-K-I-L if I'm not mistaken. Pajibo is P-A-G-E-B-O. Both of these gentlemen are Krahns. Commany Wisseh is Krahn. Ezekiel Pajibo is Krahn. They are arrested, charged with treason and Doe wants to execute them.

    So this is just to explain to you that there is this development and not just from the Americo-Liberian group, but from their own group because this academic community now sees that return to barracks must happen.

  • And apart from those arrests, Mr Taylor, did Doe respond in any way to this budding student unrest?

  • Yes, he passed a People's Redemption Council order, a decree that barred any participation - I can even remember all of the no, no, nos in that decree that would bar students or anyone from getting involved. That was a decree, if I am not mistaken it's decree 2A. That was very, very well not liked by anyone in the country. Very Draconian.

  • How long did that decree remain on the statute books in Liberia?

  • And then what did you do?

  • One of the first two things that I did as President, in fact, I think it was the second - the first. The first thing that I did was to publish an executive order banning that decree.

    The second thing that I did was during the tenure of the PRC and even during the Doe years there was massive confiscation of properties of all former government officials and as an act of reconciliation, because they had thought been formally charged or there were no proof or any court proceedings against them, their properties were just confiscated and had just been occupied by individuals that did not own them, I returned all of the properties to those that had lost them.

  • Let's come back to the Doe regime though. Now, when those students were arrested did you attempt to do anything about it?

  • I went to him and said to him that what they were about to do - in fact, the students had been deemed guilty and there were cries from certain circles to execute them. And I said to him that that was the wrong thing to do and I can remember saying to him that, "If you insist and you try to do this, I am out of here. I do not want to be in Liberia after this situation has occurred. I don't want to be around because" - I told him, I said - "it will be not just a catastrophic mistake, but that will probably mark an end to the People's Redemption Council government".

  • And did that make you popular with Doe?

  • Well, quite frankly, I would be fair to Doe. I would not say that on that particular incident I would have become unpopular, no. Doe did not show any real resentment for that statement. But, knowing Doe, you could hardly tell what he was planning anyway. But I do not think that I fell in any bad books with him for saying that. I guess he probably just listened and said, "Okay, I will listen to Taylor", and, you know, he probably decided to do what he wanted to do anyway. But that incident, I did not sense any major rejection.

    He got a little upset and he said, "Well, you see what they have done and this is unacceptable and these children" - and this and that. He was a little angry, but he calmed down. But at the end of the meeting I didn't leave from the office feeling any particular threat from him.

  • Now some spellings. Commany Wisseh, C-O-M-M-A-N-Y W-I-S-S-E-H. Ezekiel Pajibo, E-Z-E-K-I-E-L PA-J-I-B-O. Just a little detail, Mr Taylor. Commany Wisseh, is he still alive?

  • Very much so. Commany Wisseh is alive and well. He has held several positions in the present government of --

  • The present government?

  • Of Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and to the best of my knowledge I think he was recently nominated as Liberia's ambassador to the kingdom of Belgium.

  • Now, Quiwonkpa, you mentioned earlier that it had been suggested that Quiwonkpa should in effect lead a coup, yes?

  • Did Quiwonkpa attempt to do so?

  • Well, he agreed but did not actually carry out the plan. He said that he did not want blood and so the plan was just stopped in its track.

  • So in late 1993 was Quiwonkpa still in Liberia?

  • I left Liberia in late 1993 personally. I left before Quiwonkpa. Now, Quiwonkpa, remember I mentioned was under house arrest when I fled the country. I cannot say precisely when he left Liberia because he was taken from house arrest by some people to hide him, and he was in hiding for a long time. I don't know exactly because I was not in contact with him for a brief period of time. So I can't say precisely whether it was late '83 that he left or early '84 but I knew that he was in hiding and he had been kept by some very good friends of his, I understand.

  • Where?

  • I understand it started off in Monrovia. There were some Catholic fathers that had been accused of being a part of this whole thing, they were Americans, and Doe had always accused them but Quiwonkpa was very much liked by everyone because of what he stood for. I understand that they had hidden him for some time and he eventually left, I think went to Sierra Leone, and then on to the United States.

  • What was he doing in Sierra Leone?

  • I'm not sure, to be honest. I'm in the United States now and I guess he is trying to manoeuvre his way to get to where he is supposed to get to because I think he was trying to get to the United States.

  • Eventually, let's just conclude the Quiwonkpa chapter please. What is the remaining history so far as Quiwonkpa is concerned? Let's just concentrate on him at the moment?

  • Quiwonkpa travels to the United States.

  • Were you in the United States at the time?

  • Yes. When he did get to the United States, I was there. By this time I have been arrested - this is in --

  • We are coming back to that.

  • Yeah, okay. But I am in the United States.

  • But let's just concentrate on Quiwonkpa.

  • And what happened with Quiwonkpa?

  • Quiwonkpa is actually with these two Catholic fathers. I remember one of the name, Father Hayden that Doe had --

  • I think it's H-A-Y-D-E-N, Father Hayden. And he is with them, and he is also in contact with another Liberian by the name of James Butty. He is presently chief, I think, correspondent for Africa that worked for the Voice of America. They are together and it is apparent that Quiwonkpa begins to put his act together as to what he wanted to do back home in Liberia.

  • In what way was he putting his act together?

  • He began planning his move back to Liberia to remove Doe.

  • And what do you know about those plans?

  • Well, only what I was told. I, Doe had reached a point where even some of our best friends wanted him out. So Quiwonkpa goes to America. He is with Father Hayden and the rest and he is working along with certain agencies.

  • Quiwonkpa's movement is backed I would say by the United States government.

  • My question was very simple, Mr Taylor: Which agencies?

  • Well, he is working with the CIA at the time, to help him get back to Liberia.

  • And so where does he go after the United States?

  • To do what?

  • To train, plan and be armed for the invasion of Liberia.

  • And who is assisting him in doing that?

  • His, I would call his managers. We, Father Hayden, plus I do not know the immediate names of his, of the handlers from this agency that I just mentioned but I know he is with Hayden and back in Sierra Leone he is working directly with Dr Henry B Fahnbulleh.

  • And who is the President of Sierra Leone at the time?

  • And what actually takes place in Sierra Leone at that time when Quiwonkpa goes back, goes there?

  • Quiwonkpa goes to Sierra Leone, and he - all deals are made for the training in Sierra Leone.

  • Of military people.

  • To overthrow the government of Liberia.

  • And where in Sierra Leone were they training?

  • They were training just outside of Freetown.

  • Who was training them?

  • The Sierra Leonean government used a gentleman by the name of Mohamed Dumbuya who - and I will spell that if I can. Dumbuya, there was a unit of the Sierra Leonean police, and I am sure your Honours, honourable counsel here knows the SSD, Dumbuya that I know personally was used, instructed to train the forces that were about to invade Liberia, so they were trained under the command of Dumbuya.

  • And then what happened after that?

  • They invaded. The arms were bought, were supplied by the President at the time.

  • So the arms were supplied by whom?

  • And so that is the Sierra Leonean government doing that?

  • This occurred, this initial attack occurred in I think it's 1985, if I am not wrong.

  • Can you help us with a month and day?

  • No, I just can't recall right now. I am in the United States.

  • And help us: What progress did that make, that attempt?

  • General Quiwonkpa, Thomas Quiwonkpa leads the operation into Liberia. They are to a great extent successful. They enter. They seize the radio station, everything, make broadcasts on the radio. But there was something funny that happened on their way in. And now, this is a very important part of it because, again, that upset me because I am, in fact, Thomas did not listen anyway but they go in. On their way at the border the commander of the unit that is leading the troops is killed at the border not by Liberian government forces but by one of the members of the invading force. Now, strangely, what was going on, it is believed, and I have heard nothing to the contrary to say that it is not true, that Quiwonkpa had been used by certain progressives within the invading force. And let me clarify this for the judges.

    Quiwonkpa arrives in Freetown. He has to recruit and train Liberians, so he has to draw this stock of Liberians from Liberia. And so he contacts almost every progressive. Amos Sawyer sent the famous journalist in Monrovia called Tom Kamara was there. The present chairman of the Election Commission in Liberia Jimmy Fromayan was there. These are the MOJA Marxist-Leninist individuals. Now, so, there is Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf was contacted. Boima Fahnbulleh is there, so his people come. So what is happening now is that that conglomeration of individuals within the organisation have their own agenda. And I want to be very clear about this; I am saying that this is believed but there has been nothing to the contrary to suggest that that is not true. Their objective was to use Quiwonkpa to stage the coup, eliminate him and MOJA would take over the country, so the commander, a gentleman called Biah, B-I-A-H, Biah is killed on the border but as soon - by a member of that group, so they get into Monrovia. The coup is successful. General Quiwonkpa goes to the radio station not even knowing that his commander was killed at the border. He is left naked. Camp Schefflein, that has come up in the testimony and the spelling is in the record, Camp Schefflein, a military barracks just outside Monrovia on the Robertsfield Highway is where you have one of the strongest battalion, I think it's the 1st Battalion of the Armed Forces of Liberia, loyal to Doe, commanded by a Krahn officer, and most of the people there are the Doe loyalists. Camp Schefflein has not surrendered to the new government. They forget about Schefflein. Secondly, Quiwonkpa assumes that men have gone to Executive Mansion. Doe is still at the Executive Mansion. Nothing happens to him so eventually the soldiers from Camp Schefflein move into Monrovia with massive force. The Quiwonkpa people scatter. Quiwonkpa is sought, he is captured, he is killed. He is eaten by the Krahn soldiers and that is on the records all over, the records for that, and then the revenge mode sets in.

  • We will come to the revenge mode a little later, but I would like us to just pause for a moment and deal with a couple of spellings. Firstly, James Butty, B-U-T-T-Y. I will have to wait for the others. But, in any event, you mentioned that you yourself has left Liberia. Before we have the short adjournment, I wonder if you could assist us with this: Why did you leave Liberia?

  • I left Liberia when General Thomas Quiwonkpa said that he could not order the armed forces to move in because it would involve bloodshed, because he was sure that a certain segment of the armed forces that Doe had loyal to him, especially the Krahn and other groups, would resist. There would be bloodshed. He did not want it. I knew that things would get bad after Doe returned from Europe where he was visiting and so I left, out of fear.

  • Mr Taylor, help us, did you have any other difficulties at that time in terms of your role as head of the GSA?

  • None whatsoever. I had no difficulties up to that point because when I left Liberia I was now deputy minister of commerce. I was not at the GSA when I left.

  • Before you left GSA had there been any questions asked about the propriety of your dealings in that role?

  • That is correct, yes. The new guy Clarence Momolu that moves into the GSA begins what he calls a massive investigation as to what had occurred at the general services administration.

  • Yes, and what was the outcome of that?

  • Well, I really don't know the full outcome because up until the time I left Liberia he was still investigating. But what had arisen at the time, he was concerned about funds that had been paid eight months before his arrival at the GSA for equipment for the Government of Liberia that had not arrived.

  • Now, help us, how many allegations were made about you and your role as head of the GSA?

  • As far as I know the allegations came from Clarence Momolu.

  • I know namely of one for the payment of $900,000 to a firm in the United States.

  • And, put in simple terms, what was being suggested about you?

  • He was trying to suggest that I had personally embezzled money.

  • When you left Liberia, were those investigations still ongoing?

  • Did that investigation have anything to do with your flight?

  • No, not at all. Not at all. The payment in question had been made eight months before I fled. No. It was very clear that had it not been for this military operation that Quiwonkpa failed on, and I am using the word "failed", I would have not probably left Liberia at that time because quite frankly I was sure that I would have been made minister of commerce and the investigation would have been carried out and they would have found out that all of the proper procedures had been used.

    And what do I many by proper procedure? Orders were placed by the GSA. Payments were made through the Central Bank of Liberia. The vendor had received the money eight months before this particular situation. So if there were any questions that would have been answered, it would have been by the vendor who had not denied that he had received the money. So I had no problems with that.

  • Well, help us with this then, Mr Taylor: If, as you are telling these judges, you were not guilty of any wrongdoing, what do you say was the motivation behind those allegations?

  • I know that Clarence Momolu wanted to destroy me and some of the other guys wanted to, but they would not have succeeded. It was purely to destroy Charles Taylor.

  • Why would they want to destroy Charles Taylor?

  • Well, don't let's forget that we are talking still we are in this mood of what this Congo man that is doing very well, who is so respected and loved by a lot of members of the council, we need to break Taylor, and that's what they wanted to do.

  • And was this being done with or without Doe's approval?

  • Quite frankly, I cannot say with any degree of certainty that this was done with Doe's approval, to be very fair to this gentleman. Look, I know Samuel Doe. These allegations, if Doe was behind the allegations, when they first came out, number one, he would have dismissed me from the GSA instantly. I believe that there were other individuals moving in there because, having been President myself, when the President is really behind something - really, really behind something - I mean, you would not - you would almost know, I mean. So I don't think Doe - Doe easily could have said, "Oh, there are allegations, you are dismissed. You will remain out of office until you answer to these allegations", but he did not even comment on it. The Executive Mansion did not do any releases on it. So I would say that this was not of Doe's doing, no.

  • I would like you to hold that thought because I note the time and I am going on to another aspect of this, Mr President.

  • Yes, thank you, Mr Griffiths. We will take the short adjournment now and reconvene at 12 o'clock.

  • [Break taken at 11.28 a.m.]

  • [Upon resuming at 12.00 p.m.]

  • Yes, go ahead Mr Griffiths.

  • May it please you, your Honours:

  • Mr Taylor, before we adjourned we were talking about these allegations made against you. Do you recall that?

  • When did you arrive in the United States?

  • I arrived in the United States in, oh, late '83.

  • Can you give us a month?

  • What kind of a passport did you use to travel to the United States?

  • And what was the route that you took?

  • La Cote d'Ivoire and then on to New York.

  • And did you travel alone?

  • Now you were married by this time, were you not?

  • That is correct.

  • Was it a Liberian passport you were using?

  • Now, what about your wife? Did your wife remain in Liberia?

  • She stayed behind. In fact, my wife - my wife had been in the United States all along and she was aware of what was about to happen, so she had come down to Monrovia and I am glad she did. Hard-headed, some of us wanted to stay there and see things happen, but she came down and prevailed upon me in the last minute to leave and she stayed behind as I left the country.

  • And did she remain in Liberia?

  • And by this stage how many children did your wife have for you?

  • By this stage we didn't have any kids yet. We were still in the very early stages.

  • But she joined you in the USA, did she?

  • How soon after you arrived?

  • Almost immediately. Almost immediately after I arrived.

  • And just dealing with one small detail before we go on with the narrative, your wife Tupee having arrived in the United States shortly after you, tell us, did you stay together?

  • I would say we stayed together for, I would say about six to eight months and then an incident occurred and we broke up.

  • Yes. And were you seeing somebody else at the time?

  • Yes, I was.

  • I was then seeing a lady called Agnes.

  • And you were later to marry her, weren't you?

  • Now, you arrive in the United States late 1983?

  • Yes. What happened there shortly after your arrival?

  • Not immediately. I, like I said, Tupee and I lived together for a long time, I would say about six or eight months, and then during this particular period there was, round about early '84, I would say about February, if I am not mistaken, 1984, the Government of Liberia advanced an extradition request. Let me just clarify something for the Court before we - because in your question you used the word "allegations". The issue before me at the time I was deputy minister of commerce, and in response to your question I said to you Doe really probably didn't back this. We had not reached the stage where Clarence Momolu's accusations, and I want to call it his accusations because if there had been anything substantive in the issues raised about government funds it would have been handled by the department of justice. Clarence Momolu is not a Prosecutor. So it was this internal squabble. He gets to the agency, he begins to talk a whole lot of real, you know, nonsense, but it had not reached the point where there was an ongoing legal process of a legal investigation by the county attorney or the minister of justice so it had not reached there after seven months of his talks. So I want to clarify that for the Court. So as we move now into the United States it is not until February of 1994 --

  • '94?

  • Excuse me, am I - is it '94? Yes, '94.

  • Let me just take my time here. '84, 1984, that an extradition request is made by the Liberian government to the United States formally charging me with embezzlement and asking for me to be extradited to Liberia to face charges of embezzlement.

  • Now, when you left Liberia in late 1983, were you the only prominent Liberian who left at that time?

  • Well, I left. Several left. I cannot just account for where they went, so maybe that may come later, but several others fled including Moses Duopu, Harry Nyuan. They fled from the capital. I fled out of the country. Some of them fled into Nimba and this is where the other part of the conflict comes up where there is a famous raid in Nimba that Doe begins, but the fleeing from Monrovia, most of us fled. I fled out of the country.

  • In any event - in any event - what was the consequence of the extradition request made by the Liberian government?

  • The extradition request was made. After several months of haggling up and down, it depends on - because it has to be presented here as a full story. There are things happening that I think it is important for the Court to know. I am in the United States. At the time of the extradition request we are still working. I go to the United States --

  • Working on what?

  • That is what I am coming to now. I go to the United States, but the plan to remove Doe is still afoot. I return to West Africa trying to find General Quiwonkpa because linking up with him would continue the plan.

    On my first trip I do not find him. I come to la Cote d'Ivoire. I do not find him because I didn't even know, and he had kept very quiet, he is hiding in Sierra Leone. So then I returned to the United States. By the time I get back to the United States this is about the middle of '84. The extradition papers are already circling. We know that these requests have been made. The United States government has not yet moved on it, because I guess they are still studying it, and we know the reason why it took so long and I am sure - I am sure the judges know this, but I will just explain it.

    Extradition, the issues that are dealt with in extradition cases - and this is why I mentioned before I was not under any criminal investigation in Liberia at the time of my departure. I want to make that very clear. So the extradition request, under extradition requests there are only two issues that are decided. It is mostly a political decision. The first issue that is decided on an extradition, and this is why the United States government took so long by the Court, even though it is processed through the Court, the first issue is: Is there a valid treaty.

    The Court only has to decide on the validity of a treaty. Thus, after the Court has decided, the Court's functions are finished. It is then the decision of the Secretary of State of that nation to decide as to whether the political situation in that country is of such that that citizen can be sent back to face trial.

    So the United States government, I was not on trial for embezzlement. I was only being asked to be sent back not even having been under a criminal investigation before I left. I just wanted to get the Court to understand that part, okay? So the extradition request comes through, the United States government has taken its time to consider it. I get to know later why it has taken so long, but eventually I am arrested.

  • When are you arrested?

  • I am arrested I would say on or about June of 1984.

  • And just so that we get the chronology correct, the extradition proceedings begin in February, am I right?

  • The proceedings begin, yes. From Liberia. Not in the US court.

  • Thereafter you travel to West Africa and return?

  • That is correct.

  • And it is upon your return in June of 1984 that you are in fact arrested?

  • At that stage are you placed in custody?

  • Where were you placed in custody?

  • Firstly, I am arrested in Boston, Massachusetts, and I am taken to the Plymouth County House of Correction.

  • That is way outside of Boston. I would say - I can't really calculate. I was --

  • Okay. And for how long are you held on remand at that institution?

  • I am held there for about 15 months up to about I would say November 1985.

  • And during that 15 month period what is happening in terms of the extradition proceedings?

  • The Court has already decided that there exists a valid treaty between the United States and Liberia. The Courts are finished. The matter is now at the Department of State to determine if they should go ahead with the actual movement of me into Liberia. It is no longer a matter of the law. That is finished.

  • Now, did you instruct lawyers in the United States?

  • Well, yes, I did obtain the services of the former United States Attorney-General, Ramsey Clark. He was Attorney-General during the Johnson administration to represent my interests during my incarceration.

  • And after you were held in custody were any further steps taken by the Liberian government to secure your return to Liberia?

  • Oh, yes. You have to imagine they were very anxious. Doe wanted me back but we - our concerns - in fact what delayed the request was this: Everybody - and when I say everybody I am referring to the United States government - knew very well that at stake at that time had nothing to do - because I mean with $900,000, because that was not the issue. $900,000 had been paid to a vendor, the vendor had admitted that he had received the money so - and they could have gone after the vendor for the money. The money was not paid to Charles Taylor. They knew that the money had been processed, but at the bottom of it they knew that Quiwonkpa having disappeared that Doe wanted me because he knew that Quiwonkpa and I working together would have been a problem, so the United States government was very aware, and what was at stake at that particular time was the Secretary of State was concerned that I would be killed if I was sent back to Liberia.

    So within that period there were discussions going on and I guess, and I was not part of those discussions, I would say from experience, trying to maybe secure assurances from the Doe government that no such thing would happen. So it took some time because the courts had decided within the first three months that there was a valid - I would say three to six months - that there was a valid treaty, so they were finished.

    The rest of the time was just diplomatic arguments, agreements, and the United States in a way I would believe, and I am not quoting from any US sources, but they were aware that General Quiwonkpa was planning his return and from my own diplomatic instinct, and I am speaking about the contacts that I had from the prison with General Quiwonkpa, I think that the United States - and this is a thought only, I have no official statement from the United States government - they did not want to send me back to Liberia.

    I think they were sure that Doe would harm me, but knowing that something was coming up I guess they were buying time for that to take place before I was sent back to Liberia. I want to be right on this. I am not saying this because somebody told me this, but because of the work that they were doing at the time with General Quiwonkpa, fearing that I would be killed, not wanting me to go back all systems buy time, and it is my own genuine belief, and I am not speculating that they were buying time and really didn't want to send me back.

  • Let's pause and seek your assistance with one little detail. Tell me, who was Solicitor General at the time in Liberia?

  • The Solicitor General at the time that was processing that extradition sits in this court right now. It was Cllr Lavalie Supuwood, my lawyer.

  • And as Solicitor General of Liberia he was seeking your extradition from the United States, wasn't he?

  • That is correct, but he was one of the progressives too.

  • Now, you were telling us about people that Quiwonkpa was working with in the United States. Who was he working with in the United States?

  • Now, Quiwonkpa is with the two Catholic fathers and James Butty. I speak to him on a collect call from --

  • General Quiwonkpa on the telephone from the Plymouth County House of Correction you have to call collect calls. I am not sure what they do in other places in America and I speak to him several times, but we cannot really talk. I know he is there for a reason, but he sends a gentleman by the name of Harry Nyuan.

  • That, I would say N-Y-U-A-N is really Nyuan - some people call it, they say Nyua, but it is Nyuan - told me to visit with me at the Plymouth County House of Correction in Massachusetts and he briefs me of what is going on regarding what is being put together and urging that I have patience. I then say, ask him to --

  • No, before we get ahead of ourselves, what does he tell you is going on?

  • Oh, he tells me that the particular agency that I already mentioned are working along with them.

  • Let's not be coy, Mr Taylor. Which agency?

  • We have said the CIA. I mean, we are not going to beat this [indiscernible].

  • Right. So let's use CIA rather than agency, please?

  • So help us: What did he tell you?

  • That they were working very closely with the general and that plans were afoot to return to Sierra Leone - I mean to - not return, to go to Sierra Leone and that all, all plans had been put together for the training in Sierra Leone and the eventual moving into Liberia.

    And let me just - your Honours, I want to - I made a statement here earlier about who was president. Now, I may be a little off. It had to be somewhere between Siaka Stevens because I can remember Quiwonkpa saying the old man, but old man - because I am in prison in America, I am not - it could have been Siaka Stevens who later died and Momoh took over. I will have to reflect my memory on this. And I am sure it is in the record, I said Momoh, but I thought about it because he kept saying the old man, the old man, and most of us knew Siaka Stevens as the old man. Okay.

    So I am told that they are moving, they are planning and that the weapons and equipment would be given and that in fact they would be paid for. So the weapons from the Sierra Leone government at that time I am 100 per cent positive, that was used by General Quiwonkpa, was not a donation. They were paid for by the CIA.

  • Okay.

  • Mr Griffiths, this Mr Nyuan, is he Liberian?

  • Yes, he is. The Harry Nyuan is Liberian. He was sent to me to brief me.

  • Can I take advantage of this hiatus, Mr President, to mention a spelling from this morning. James Fromayan, it is J-A-M-E-S, the normal spelling, and the surname is F-R-O-M-A-Y-A-N:

  • So you were telling us the weapons had been paid for by the CIA?

  • What else were you told?

  • And that the training would be done by what I told you before, it would be done by the SSD. Dumbuya would conduct the training and that Liberians would be brought to Sierra Leone for the training and that was done.

  • Now, help us. Why were you, incarcerated as you were in the Plymouth county jail, being told this?

  • The relationship between General Quiwonkpa and myself were very strong. As a matter of fact, I may have not mentioned, I had suggested to the general that Dr Fahnbulleh be contacted and brought on board but they knew --

  • When had you suggested that?

  • I suggested that to the general while I was in prison in the United States. And I said to him that he needed some very strong people around him and Dr Fahnbulleh was brought on board.

  • So what are you telling us? Were you conspiring with Quiwonkpa and others to stage a coup in Liberia?

  • And why were you conspiring with others to do that?

  • Well, let's get - we have to add the history to this. Let's not forget the progressives and the majority of Liberians want Doe and the PRC to return to barracks. Doe does not want to return to barracks. General Quiwonkpa, Thomas Quiwonkpa, is then removed from his place because he is supporting the return to civilian rule. A coup is planned then. It does not take shape. We flee. I go out of the country. He goes into hiding. A group of those individuals that were supporting the coup in Liberia get disgruntled and go up to Nimba and raid a certain company, it's called the LAMCO mining company. Doe begins to carry out the beginning of the killings in Nimba. We are all out. We are still planning. General Quiwonkpa succeeds in getting out and the whole process is continuing. So we do not stop because we are determined.

    Now I am in the prison and Quiwonkpa now gets in America. He has the backing of the government of the United States, because the CIA must operate with at least the acquiescence at certain levels and the whole thing is rolling. I mean, I see this as a way of survival myself. If it succeeds I know I will come out of jail, because if sufficient pressure is put on the United States government - by pressure, let me say if they are sufficiently convinced. There is very little pressure you can put on the US government. But I mean if I stay in jail long enough for them to be convinced that, okay, well, maybe we can send him in and nothing will happen, I will be a dead man. So I too am anxious and I want it to happen.

  • Now, help me with something else, Mr Taylor. On the one hand you have told us earlier this morning of the extent of United States largesse towards the Doe government in terms of financial assistance. Now you are telling us that an agency of that same government was planning or assisting Quiwonkpa to overthrow that same government. Can you help us with that - on the face of it - contradiction?

  • No, there is no contradiction. The assistance to the Doe government covers the period from the PRC to the end of his government and his assassination - well, his killing by Prince Johnson at the beginning of the revolution that we launched. Now within that period of time, that is before the elections of October 1985 --

  • Elections where?

  • In Liberia. Doe is not really, really, really favoured by I would say the international community to really stay on. What these people apparently were doing, they assisted Doe in ways that were sufficient to encourage him to leave. He probably interpreted the assistance as them wanting him to stay, but the views of the strong man, as he used to be called, General Thomas Quiwonkpa, Thomas Quiwonkpa was really liked by the international community and the views coming from him and most of the other segments of the Liberian society was for the army to return to barracks.

    So there is nothing out of the ordinary that when this coup fails and immediately thereafter, several months after, Doe brings forward an election in October of 1985, that election of 1985 Doe says he wins by 50.9 per cent. The international community and all Liberians believe that there is another candidate in this particular electoral process called Jackson Doe, no relationship to Samuel Doe, who actually won the elections. So here we have it, here is a man that they do not want, someone else wins the election, he takes it, so all systems now are open to General Quiwonkpa to hurry up. And, if we can touch this point, in November of 1985 Quiwonkpa attacks.

  • Okay. We will come back to that in a little more detail in a moment, but in any event you are arrested June 1985, yes, and you are in --

  • And you are in custody for 15 months?

  • So that takes us through to when?

  • About August 80 - no, no, no. That puts me all the way up until November because I do get out of jail in November of 1985.

  • Now, it's that Houdini episode that I want to talk to you about now.

  • How did you get out of jail, Mr Taylor, without a monopoly type get-out-of-jail card? How did you manage it?

  • Well, I must say that I will be able to explain to a great extent how I got out. There are some of the details I don't know, but I will explain to the judges. While in prison this whole episode is being developed - by episode, I mean the planning and training are going on in Sierra Leone. Harry Nyuan comes to me and he informs me of the details. I then ask him to state to General Quiwonkpa to ask the United States government to release me. Why? Because of the contact that I am told that General Quiwonkpa has with the government. Well, since there is this diplomatic stalemate, if you have sufficient contacts at the level that Quiwonkpa was dealing with, he could have said to them, "Look, release Mr Taylor" because it is apparent that they would not have sent me anyway.

    I am in jail. About two to three days - I don't know the date of the actual attack on Monrovia. I do not know. But I am released from jail about two to three days before the attack. As I arrive in New York City the attack is already gone.

    About three to four weeks before, one of the prison guards in a supervisory position came and told me that I will be leaving the prison and he wanted to find out that if I was let out of the prison if I could actually get out of the United States as quickly as possible because upon leaving I would have to leave the United States. I said to him, I said, "Well, it will be a little problem, but I will get to my wife and ask her to, you know, raise a certain amount of money that would be made available to me if and when I got out".

    Now, that was a little sticky because my wife and I are not living together. I have now moved to Boston where I am arrested. I am with this girlfriend Agnes who later becomes my wife, but my wife Tupee and I had bought a piece of land in New Hampshire, so I had to authorise her to sell the land to raise some money that when I got out of jail I would be able to do something.

    The Plymouth County House of Correction is both a minimum and a maximum security facility. The minimum security facility of that jail, you have people who were about to get out, they go and work in the fields, come in, go out. It is virtually for people that, you know, have no good reason to get out of jail because in that facility you are there. Within the building you have to walk from maximum security through so many gates to get into minimum and the minimum side of the jail is really minimum. Low walls, people walk out and do what they have to do.

    On the date that I reported back to them, to the guard, and told them that I had arranged with my wife and after she showed me that she had sold the land and had some money, we had to really give the land at a rock bottom price, I told him that we had some money, he verified my passport, he verified that I could get out. I can remember one evening at about 10 he came, opened my cell, it was during lock down time, and escorted me from the maximum security side through several gates to the minimum security side where there were two other detainees there standing - they were already out. They had already - I don't know who cut it, but I think the guards had made these arrangements. Those two guys and myself with the guard, this one guard, and I do not know and will not lie if he was operating with anybody else, but I believe that he had to be operating with somebody else. I was taken out, we got to the window, these guys took a sheet, we tied it on the bar, not very short distance, and we came down, got over the fence.

    There was a waiting car outside. There were two guys in the car. These other two guys and myself got in the car and drove and their instruction - the guys who were driving the car's instructions were to get me as far as New York where I had told them I wanted to go.

    They drove me from Boston. We stopped in Providence, Rhode Island. My wife came, brought the money, she was in a second car and the two cars drove. The two guys that were driving the car insisted that I not drive with her. I should stay in their car just in case we were stopped by state troopers. I followed those instructions.

    I do not know those guys. They never identified themselves to me. I had never known them before. They drove us all the way to New York. I got out of the car and I showed them that it would be okay and then I met a sister of mine, a half sister of mine, and I stayed at her apartment. Those guys plus the two guys that broke out of the jail with me, I have not seen or heard from them to date.

    Now, what do I mean by I do not know the full story? It is my assumption, and I want to be very clear about this, because I did not pay any money, I did not know the guys that picked me up, I stayed in New York for about - as I am in New York the coup is going on in Liberia. I cannot get a flight out of New York on time. I was not hiding. All this nonsense about being searched, I was not hiding. I did not get a flight out. I was still in New York when General Quiwonkpa was captured. I stayed in New York for about two or three weeks.

    It was decided by my sister that since things had gotten out of shape, by this time every news agency is reporting that Charles Taylor has escaped from jail. I drive on interstate 95, not hiding, from New York after about two weeks to Washington DC. I spent a couple of days in Washington DC visiting a friend of mine, the later Eric Scott. From there I drive all the way to Atlanta, Georgia, board a plane, fly to Texas, spend time there with some family friends down there for about another month and then go on to Mexico and fly to West Africa.

  • How did you get into Mexico?

  • We drove right across the US border there in an open car - not an open top, openly. We drove across at the US border --

  • I was there, my half sister that I talk about, Ann Payne, plus her daughter.

  • Could you give us that name again, please?

  • Payne. Ann, like in A-N-N and P-A-Y-N-E. We drive across, no one - all of my documents are inspected. We drive across the border. We get across. I am given a visa at the - I am not sure if it has changed right now, because I could be asked about it. At the time I crossed the border into Mexico you don't get a Mexican visa on the border. Not on the border. You had to go - I think the visa was given me some - I think 10 or 20 miles inside Mexico there is an area that you go. If you want to go to Mexico City you have got to get a visa. But when I travelled through there at the time a visa was not required. Neither was it required at the US border as I crossed any specific things. But I am trying to say my name was on my passport, Charles Macarthur Taylor. No one asked me any questions. We drove across.

  • Which passport was this, Mr Taylor?

  • I was using an ordinary passport. A Liberian passport.

  • Was it the same passport you had used to enter the United States?

  • No, I had used a diplomatic passport to enter the United States. That passport, it was left at Tupee's place so I didn't have that one.

  • So how did you get this additional passport?

  • In government, we all not knowing what will happen the next day, we had a diplomatic passport and we had an ordinary passport, because once you get fired from government you are no longer entitled to a diplomatic passport, so there was always an ordinary passport that we kept.

  • So that is the latter that you used to enter Mexico?

  • And then you told us that you applied for and obtained a visa.

  • A visa, yes. That's another strange thing. We were given - I was given a visa at this town not on the border, somewhere inside Mexico, but this visa was not stamped into my passport. The visa was given on a small slip of paper that you hold in the passport like if any questions were asked. I don't know why they did not stamp it in. Because when I get to this place and I request the visa this particular Mexican immigration officer had several visas stacked in his bag, in his carrying briefcase. I think it is a system over there at the time where visas were not stamped but the visas are given on the slip. I get a visa to enter Mexico and I then go on Mexico City which is a little distance from the main border point. Strangely at this time there had just been an earthquake in Mexico City that had just hit the city when I reached there. After that I bought a ticket.

  • To where?

  • And boarded a Sabena aircraft, Sabena, I think it's S-A-B-E-N-A, the Belgium airlines, into Brussels and then on to Ghana, West Africa.

  • Now, let's just pause there for a minute. By the time you have made good your escape and arrived back in Africa, the attempted coup by Quiwonkpa - no, the elections of 1985 have taken place in the October, is that right?

  • Yes, the election took place in October.

  • Then in November we have the --

  • The coup.

  • The coup by Quiwonkpa?

  • When Quiwonkpa is arrested and killed?

  • And that is in November of 1985, you tell us?

  • So what date is it when you arrive back in West Africa?

  • Because I mean I was very sad. I was very sad. I am still in New York City when Quiwonkpa is arrested and killed. That must be clear. So, in other words, I have missed the whole thing. And it appears that my release from the Plymouth County House of Correction was intended to be in West Africa for this particular situation, because I am out, I get in New York and about a day and a half to two days after my arrival in New York the coup is in action. I have already missed - because the original plan I had said, I was going to catch a flight out of JFK straight into West Africa, but I did not. We were delayed and my wife, my ex-wife, panicking, was very slow in getting to me. So we were delayed in Providence, Rhode Island on a highway waiting for her to reach me.

    These guys were just so adamant. I said, "Well, let's go". They did not want to go. I am talking about the two guys that had the car. That car was a type of secure car because they insisted that I would have to stay in that car until I got to New York because if I got stopped on the highway in the other car I would be probably picked up. So I stayed in their car. My assumption again was that it had to be a government car, that they were sure that I would not be taken out of their car, okay? So we go all the way. So that delay now I think caused me not to be present for the coup.

  • Okay. I just want to clarify one detail before we carry on with the narrative. Earlier, and I am sure it may well be my fault - earlier today you told us that when you fled from Liberia and went to the United States you travelled on a Liberian passport, an ordinary passport?

  • You have told us now, a couple of minutes ago, that it was a diplomatic passport. So which is it?

  • Well, let's see. I hope I didn't misspeak. I am saying that upon leaving office in Liberia you do not have a diplomatic passport. I entered the United States on a diplomatic passport, but I left the United States on an ordinary passport because the diplomatic passport had been left at Tupee's place when we broke up. I moved from New Jersey. I was now in Boston.

  • Mr Taylor, I want us to be very clear about this, so let us just recall the details of what you told us this morning. Initially you flee from Liberia and you go to the United States?

  • Extradition proceedings begin in the February of 1984?

  • I hesitate to rise, but this is direct examination and if counsel wishes to go over these matters again it would be more appropriate to ask the witness to give the information. He is essentially summarising testimony.

  • I am merely clarifying something, Mr President. If my learned friend would advert to page 54, line 15, I am merely seeking to clarify that.

  • All right, thank you. I will overrule the objection and allow you to continue your clarification, Mr Griffiths.

  • If I understand the account you gave us, Mr Taylor, you leave Liberia, you go to the United States?

  • Stage two is the issuance of extradition proceedings?

  • You then go back to Africa?

  • And return to the United States for a second time?

  • Now the question is very simple. On the first occasion that you left Liberia and entered the United States, what passport did you use?

  • I travelled on a diplomatic passport.

  • On the second occasion when you returned to the United States again, what passport did you use?

  • I am still travelling on a diplomatic passport.

  • When you leave the United States, enter Mexico and travel to Belgium, what passport are you using?

  • I am travelling on an ordinary passport.

  • Thank you. So you then return to Ghana?

  • Now, help us with this, please: By this stage the Quiwonkpa coup has failed?

  • Why then are you returning to Africa?

  • Well, upon my release - well, I am calling it release because I didn't break out so to speak. In Ghana is my good old friend, Dr Henry B Fahnbulleh. While I am still outside I am in touch with Dr Fahnbulleh who is now in Ghana. The coup has failed. People have scattered and most of those individuals did not hang around Sierra Leone. After the failure of the coup they moved into Ghana.

    He then encourages me, because everyone knows that I am a part of that whole operation even though I am still behind - he encourages me to come to Ghana because he is good friends with senior officials of the then government of Rawlings who had just come in and that friendship - that friendship was very deep because, for those that may not know, at the beginning Jerry Rawlings has just come to power into Ghana and it starts off as a Marxist-Leninist revolution and so the MOJA people are deeply rooted in Ghana. He invites me to come to Ghana. That's how I come to Ghana.

  • Now, we will come back to the Ghanaian episode in a moment, but let us just complete the Quiwonkpa episode. After the killing of Quiwonkpa, what happened after that in Liberia?

  • Well, you need - I think your original question - I think we need to, you know, complete that circle, because I think the question was what caused me to come back to West Africa. The fire is still burning. Fahnbulleh is in this particular place and they are still hoping that they can regroup, okay? So I really wanted to end that part of the thing to answer your question.

  • But in the meantime what has been happening in Liberia following the failed Quiwonkpa coup?

  • Doe has now unleashed the full force of his army and he is really on I would call it a blood-letting spree. Nimba is being practically torn apart.

  • Who is in charge of this?

  • Well, Samuel Doe at that time had a very famous general by the name of Charles Julu, that is J-U-L-U, who was in charge of the operations in Nimba County. But I want to mention that that spree that I referred to did not just occur in Nimba. There were other counties that suffered as well and by suffering I mean individuals from the Kpelle ethnic group, the Loma ethnic group. Any ethnic group that was once sympathetic to General Quiwonkpa, or if you were a member of the armed forces and you were from any of these ethnic groups you were also targeted.

  • Which ethnic group was Quiwonkpa from?

  • Quiwonkpa was from the Mahn. That is M-A-H-N. The Mahn ethnic group sometimes called the Mano, but the actual name is Mahn. Like you hear Gio in Liberia but the actual name is Dan. The Dan ethnic group, people call them Gios because it is the language. The Mahn ethnic group is what you call the Manos. So he was from the Manos or the Mahn ethnic group.

  • And in which county in Liberia are they concentrated, those two groups?

  • They are concentrated in Nimba County and they are so close that the Mahns speak Dan and the Dans speak Mahn, so if you are Gio you speak Gio and Mano because you can almost understand each other. So, and maybe it is important to note here why this bloodletting was so bad, because in Nimba County, since you mentioned the county, you also have Krahns that live in Nimba County and these three ethnic groups are really relatives.

    So the Krahn, the Mahn and the Dan are three ethnic groups, so in Nimba County, while you had the Mahn and the Dan there was a segment on the border with Grand Gedeh where the Krahns are predominantly settled, you have Krahns in Nimba. Okay. So there are other tribes but I will wait until you find them, because whoever was in that area had the full weight of Doe at the time.

  • And when you say weight, what are we talking about?

  • Oh, killings, burnings, lootings, raping. There was a terrible situation that followed. Don't let's forget now. Quiwonkpa has come to Monrovia, he has failed. It is believed that his Mahn and Dan fellows in the army are supporting him and that the Gios from Nimba County are supporting him. He has been captured; he has been cut into little pieces. It is on television, his flesh was eaten by the military people at the time, and Doe is now in control. He begins a revenge situation. This is what I am explaining.

  • Now, let's jump forward for a moment in order to come back. When you began the revolution on Christmas Eve 1989, Mr Taylor, which county in Liberia did you choose as your springboard?

  • Naturally Nimba.

  • During this terrible orgy on the part of the Doe government, a lot of the young men and women fled Nimba County into la Cote d'Ivoire, by the hundreds, and so you will get to find out that about 90 per cent of the people that we used to train as Special Forces are these fleeing Nimbadiens, and I will put that percentage as 85/90 because there were other tribal groups that joined, but they were predominantly from the Mahn/Dan ethnic groups in la Cote d'Ivoire and so the natural return where obviously we would get the sympathy, the cooperations and assistance from the general population was on my mind, so naturally, we chose to launch the revolution from there and it was planned as such because if you look at the quantity of people that we used, you don't launch a revolution with the number of people that we used but there was a plan that they would be the forerunners of the revolution but we were depending on the population to launch the revolution, really.

  • Let's go back now. So you arrived in a Ghana ruled by Jerry Rawlings' regime, yes?

  • You have chosen to do that because Dr Fahnbulleh, who you have spoken to, yes?

  • And you decide to join him?

  • Now, were there other anti-Doe dissidents living in Ghana at the time?

  • Oh, yes. The cream of the MOJA crop were all in Ghana. Dr Fahnbulleh was there; a gentleman I mentioned before during the morning hours was Tom Kamara, who is presently the editor of The New Democrat newspaper, that does not get tired writing about Charles Taylor, he was there. He was also in the training camp in Sierra Leone. Also in Ghana is Commany Wisseh that I mentioned before in my testimony. They are all now settled back in Ghana.

  • And so when you arrive do you meet up with this group?

  • And what is being proposed at this stage?

  • Well, there are plans. Some people are suggesting - at first it was anticipate, in fact, they really expected that Ghana would have helped them re-intervene. That was not forthcoming, so there was this scramble right away to try to see how pieces could be put back together for this whole idea to be launched, and let me mention what I failed to mention earlier in one of your questions.

    This group that attacked Liberia led by General Quiwonkpa was called the NPFL. That was the name of that group and I want to interject this now, because my NPFL was the second NPFL that came after that first NPFL, So I think it is important to mention that. They are there and we are all beginning to throw ideas around on what to do that this whole idea would not fail and that Doe should not be left alone to, you know, to rejoice after everything that he had done.

  • Now, are you living in - are you living in Ghana by yourself at this time?

  • No. Shortly thereafter Agnes joins me in Ghana.

  • Now, when you say that Quiwonkpa's group had been called the NPFL, what did the NPFL stand for, so far as the Quiwonkpa group is concerned?

  • National Patriotic Front of Liberia.

  • And the group you later formed, what did that NPFL stand for?

  • National Patriotic Front of Liberia.

  • So they both had the same meaning?

  • Same meaning, same name, and I will - can almost say same organisation.

  • Now, did you remain unmolested in Ghana?

  • I arrive in Ghana, Dr Fahnbulleh receives me. We are going along and some three, four weeks into my arrival there I am arrested by the Ghanaian authorities very strangely, and I am accused by the Ghanaian security at the time of being an agent of the CIA, so I am saying to them, "What are you talking about?" But the argument was at this time - and this is the little Catch-22 - Rawlings comes to power in Ghana, it is a Marxist/Leninist revolution, it starts along that line and there are serious conflicts with the United States. The cousin of Jerry Rawlings by the name of Michael Susidis --

  • Spell that for us, please?

  • Oh, Susidis, S-U-S-I-D-I-S, Susidis he is - that name is a European name I am sure, Susidis, and I stand corrected on this - I guess that is what you guys will be doing - is arrested in the United States and charged with espionage. Rawlings retaliates immediately by arresting even some American officials and some Ghanaians that Rawlings claims are CIA spies, he arrests them too and so the argument is, "But wait a minute. You cannot tell us that you got out of the prison in a maximum security prison in the United States and come here if the CIA didn't help you to come so you are a spy". So I am caught in this web of - it was a major problem and we can find, I am sure the Ghanaians it was all documented, so this problem is going on between the two governments, okay?

    I am now arrested as a US spy, whereas I am not, but they believe that - they believe in the impossibility of escaping without US assistance and because this scenario is taking place at the same time I fall into that. I am investigated for several months. I mean, I am held at the security quarters for about six, seven months. I explained. By this time Dr Fahnbulleh and the groups around there are working very hard trying to explain that, no, he is coming here, he is a part of what we were doing, but he was in prison, but they just had to go through their security own analysis, and then they granted me asylum in Ghana, and that was what you may call some form of molestation, but that was what happened at that time.

  • Now, after your release what did you do?

  • I am released and realising that the people that I meet, we are friends, but ideologically there is a divide. I then begin to --

  • What divide?

  • Well, they are Marxist, I am not, and so the direction they want to go I don't want to go down their route. I begin to pursue my own route and then begin to contact people in la Cote d'Ivoire that are more - are seriously connected to our general belief. And who are these people? There is the very Harry Nyuan, who does not come to Ghana, he is in Ivory Coast. There is another gentleman called Moses Duopu from Nimba, from the Gio ethnic group, who was with me in the Union of Liberian Associations in the Americas, so most of those that were not along these Marxist/Leninist orientation did not come to Ghana; They went, they fled to la Cote d'Ivoire. I then started moving in and out of la Cote d'Ivoire trying to join them to organise our response to what Doe had done.

  • And so where were you actually based during this period?

  • At the beginning stage I am based in Ghana, but there is another arrest in Ghana. After I begin these movements, and apparently these groups have seen that I am making some progress, I am re-arrested in Ghana for the second time.

  • On what - for what reason?

  • I tell you this time these guys didn't accuse me of anything. What they had said was that they were working with the group in Ghana to try to do something in Liberia and that what I was working towards was going to either expose or counter what they were doing, So my arrest really was just to stop me, I guess.

  • I am sorry, Mr Taylor, I really don't understand that and I may not be alone. What do you mean when you were telling us that "They were working with a group in Ghana to try to do something in Liberia"? What are you saying?

  • Okay. Well, you have a point there. Quiwonkpa is dead. The desire to go back and fight Doe is what I am referring to. They are working in Ghana trying to organise recruitment and all to --

  • Who is trying to do this?

  • The group, the MOJA group now in Ghana under Dr Fahnbulleh and the rest of them, are trying to recruit, in fact they do recruit some people to be trained to relaunch this revolution in Liberia.

  • Are they being assisted by anyone?

  • Well, they are definitely assisted by their comrades in this new Rawlings government at a particular level. Whether Rawlings knew I can't speak for it, but there are different levels when you are operating in these things. Maybe the close people that were operating with Fahnbulleh and these people were the diehards like Captain Tshikata, Kojo Tshikata who was the head of national security, he is an old revolutionary. Tshikata I think is T-S-I - you guys are going to have to help me with this one, but the name is Tshikata, Captain Kojo Tshikata, and so they were working very hard.

  • And you said they were training?

  • And where was this training taking place?

  • My understanding is that they were training at a place called - again don't ask me to spell it - Achiasi is a place outside of Accra at a guerrilla base at a town called Achiasi, we may have to get the spelling for that.

  • Do you have any idea what kind of numbers we are talking about in terms of those being trained?

  • Not at all. I did not go there because I was trying to pursue my line, because my whole orientation was not Marxist-Leninist. This is why I moved away from them and moved into la Cote d'Ivoire in and out to organise something other than what they were doing, because I did not believe that if they succeeded that a Marxist revolution in Liberia was the right thing and I was opposed to that.

  • And just so that we are clear, Mr Taylor, those training in Ghana were training to do what?

  • I would say restart what Quiwonkpa had just lost, what they had lost, to restart the attack, the revolution, in Liberia. That is what they were training to do.

  • So are you suggesting they were intending in due course to invade Liberia?

  • Oh, definitely. Definitely. Without a doubt. Without a doubt. That was the whole purpose.

  • And so just again that we are clear, we have a situation then, do we, where there is this group training in Ghana to invade Liberia and you are trying to organise another group in Cote d'Ivoire for the same purpose?

  • I see. And had you managed to progress your own idea in Sierra Leone - in Cote d'Ivoire?

  • Yes, I succeeded in bringing all of the groups that were in la Cote d'Ivoire together. Everybody was happy to see me on my first visit and they too were just there anxious too and were thinking about the same thing about planning to return, because in reality - and I can just predict - the group training in Ghana could not have been a very large group because when I reached to la Cote d'Ivoire the vast majority of the people from Nimba, whether they were ex-soldiers that had fled Liberia, were in la Cote d'Ivoire and so that appeared to me then to be the base of where we would get what we wanted. But we were faced with a very serious problem. There was the idea. There was the manpower. The question then arose how do we train, where do we train and where do we get assistance from? That was the dilemma right there.

  • But in between times, as you have indicated, you are arrested for a second time in Ghana?

  • And help me, on what basis?

  • They did not really accuse me as they did before of working for the CIA, no. This time they just said that I was doing something that would interfere with what they were planning. I was planning and meeting groups in la Cote d'Ivoire to stage this return to Liberia to overthrow the government, they were doing the same thing and that I would disrupt the process. And so they just kept me. That is all.

  • How many times were you in custody the first time in Ghana?

  • For about six months.

  • And then on this second occasion for eight months?

  • And upon your release what did you do?

  • Before I am arrested I have succeeded in putting together the individuals in la Cote d'Ivoire for this operation. I had also succeeded in making the necessary contacts for where the training would occur and where assistance would come from. I have contacted while in Ghana the late good friend of mine the ambassador of Burkina Faso, the late lady Mamuna Yatara.

  • Spelling?

  • Mamuna is I think M-A-M-U-N-A, Mamuna, and Yatara is Y-A-T-A-R-A. Yatara.

  • And her position, remind me?

  • She was ambassador. She was ambassador to Ghana from Burkina Faso.

  • Now, I had visited Burkina Faso and had been lucky to have met with the late Thomas Sankara, who became a very good friend of mine, and his immediate deputy Blaise Compaore. That is C-O-M-P-A-O-R-E. Blaise Compaore. And so - who had upon my request put us in touch with the Libyan section dealing with pan-African activities at that particular time. Now --

  • Pause there. Where was that Libyan connection based?

  • In Ouagadougou at the embassy. There was a bureau - there was an office there. I was introduced to them and I asked to meet some authorities in Libya to see how this - because at that time Libya was the champion - and rightly so - of pan-African activities in Africa at the time and I will probably get into that if that is a desire of the Court.

  • Let us just pause for a moment and deal with some spellings. Kojo Tshikata. K-O-J-O and Tshikata is T-S-H-I-K-A-T-A. Achiasi, Ghana, site of training, A-C-H-I-A-S-I. Thomas Sankara S-A-N-K-A-R-A. As yet we can find no spelling for Susides:

  • Right. So you have made those contacts, Mr Taylor, and help me. You had made those contacts, did you say, before you were incarcerated for the second time by the Ghanaian authorities?

  • That is correct.

  • So upon your release what did you do?

  • Well, let us not fail in making one connection here. Remember the contacts I made. I go to Burkina Faso, I meet an individual introduced to me, I travelled to Libya, the entire plan now has been put together for the training of these pan-African forces and I return to Accra. On this particular leg where I am now going to la Cote d'Ivoire to begin the movement of the men for training I am arrested, and I am saying now that the Ghanaian authorities knew all along what was going on and so this arrest was to cut the process and so I am held in jail for eight months. While I am in jail, the process does not stop. Thomas Sankara is killed by his forces and his deputy takes over.

  • Blaise Compaore. A renewed request is made to the Ghanaian government for my release, I am released and given 48 hours to leave Ghana, I drive directly from Accra into la Cote d'Ivoire and on to Ouagadougou. That is the connection I wanted to make.

  • And so by this stage then the President of Burkina Faso is someone with whom you had already struck up a relationship before your arrest?

  • Yes, he and his deputy.

  • So what happens when you get to Burkina Faso?

  • By the time I get to Burkina Faso the first two groups of individuals that are to go to Libya have already been sent.

  • Pause there.

  • How many people are we talking about?

  • Oh, the two groups would make no - they went in small groups. The first group may have been 18/20, the second group along that line and this very Blah that sat here was in that second group. Moses Blah.

  • Moses Blah was in that second group?

  • In that second group, that is correct.

  • And let's just get a little time line here, please, Mr Taylor. By this stage, your second release, what year are we in?

  • October '85 and November I arrive in Accra and I begin this whole process. Eight plus six is 14 and so we are now looking at around late '86/'87. If you add the six months I am initially arrested and I am out for some time and then the eight months, so we are getting into the beginning of '87 or thereabouts.

  • Right. And so by this stage we have already got two groups of Liberians in Libya being trained?

  • No, not in Libya. Not two groups in Liberia - I mean Libya. You have one group in Achiasi, but in Libya you have yet my group, but there is strangely - okay, there is something going on there, because we meet a Liberian group in Libya also. So we meet a Liberian group inside Libya.

  • I don't understand that.

  • Sometimes it beats me too. Dr Henry B Fahnbulleh while in Ghana had apparently some little differences with the rest of his colleagues and had himself carried a Liberian group to Libya that were already in the training camp when my group started arriving. So in fact, yes, there are two Liberian groups training in Libya. There is another Liberian group training in Achiasi in Ghana.

  • Now, where in Libya is this?

  • The groups are being trained outside of Tripoli and I guess we are going to probably deal with why we chose Libya because there was a good reason for that.

  • Okay, let's deal with why we chose Libya.

  • Well, we are dealing with a period - and I am talking about between the years I would say almost 1980. Libya is now championing pan-African activities in Africa, rightly so, and I think that it is an effort that we ought to be very proud of.

    And what do I mean? At that particular time every major revolutionary group or activity happening on the continent of Africa had it not been for the very, very good work done by the Libyan people at that time they would not have succeeded. Whether it had to do with Uganda, or whether it had to do with South Africa where the struggle was - now we know it to be South Africa, but that revolution was about Tanzania, that should have been the name, or whether it was South West Africa that was called South West Africa that now we know as Namibia, or whether it was Ghana, the very Ghana that the honourable President of the United States just went to, without the assistance of Libya and the Mataba that we went to at that time it would not be Ghana as we know it now, or Burkina Faso, or most of the pan-African movements in Africa at that time were rightly so supported by Libya, whether people liked it or not, including maybe some other external groups.

    So this, I am trying to explain to the group, is the period of the pan-African movement and the only person that was - that had the guts to support pan-African activities at that time since Kwame Nkrumah was already there and the others was Gaddafi. So we chose there because there were no strings attached. These were not terrorist camps. These were pan-Africans that were fighting trying to stabilise things and without him a lot would not have happened. That is why we chose there. And so we moved our people there to take the training in discipline, okay, to begin to go back to really unleash our people from this whole colonial yoke that still remains upon Africa.

  • Mr Griffiths, did I hear the word Mataba?

  • How do you spell Mataba?

  • M-A-T-A-B-A. The Mataba is the pan-African organisation within the Libyan organisational structure responsible for pan-African activities. That office is called the Mataba. Now, getting back to your specific question, they were trained in a town outside of Tripoli at a place called Tajura.

  • Pause there. I wonder if the witness could be shown, please, our exhibit 208 which should be at tab number 1, your Honours, in binder number 1. Now, Mr President, I intended at this stage to go into a little detail about events in Libya with the assistance of these maps and I note the time, and rather than open it and then have to adjourn, would this be convenient?

  • Yes, I think it would be, Mr Griffiths. Just before we do adjourn, this map that you are going to show the witness has already been exhibited. Is that correct?

  • No, it hasn't. We have not exhibited any documents at all. I will be asking for this to be marked.

  • Yes. I thought I heard you say Defence exhibit 208.

  • No, my fault. I think I should more properly refer to it as DCT-208.

  • I see. That is clear. Yes, thank you. We will adjourn now until 2.30.

  • [Lunch break taken at 1.28 p.m.]

  • [Upon resuming at 2.30 p.m.]

  • May it please your Honours:

  • Mr Taylor, just before lunch I rather prematurely placed before you a map but before we come to the map I think we need to lay a bit more groundwork. Now, upon your release following that second incarceration in Ghana, did you travel anywhere outside Africa?

  • After my release from Ghana I went straight to - I went straight to Ivory Coast, then I went to Burkina Faso. I verified my trip into - I went into Libya to see the situation of the men, returned, and then before I went to France.

  • Why did you go to France?

  • I did not put the second NPFL together alone. This second NPFL was put together by those of us - I remember saying to the Court there was a group in la Cote d'Ivoire. Now working along with us in la Cote d'Ivoire was a gentleman called Toniya King.

  • Pause there please. How do you spell the first name?

  • Toniya, it's a Vai name. T-O-N-I-Y-A, I want to believe. If it's wrong we can correct it another day. Working with me outside, and may I just emphasise Toniya went along for some time, but once the Libyan connection was cemented Toniya broke away from us, he no longer participated, but two others remained. There's a gentleman called Tom Woweiyu, we mentioned that on yesterday, that's W-O-W-E-I-Y-U, and the present President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the three of us finally were the individuals that put the NPFL together, so upon leaving Ghana I had travelled to Paris to meet with Ellen Johnson and Tom Woweiyu in Paris.

  • And when you say that the current President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, was one of the organisers, in what way did she assist?

  • Oh, Ellen is an old revolutionary. She's been involved in - she was involved in part with the first NPFL. That was not new to Ellen.

  • I remember I told the Court that the first invasion into Liberia that was launched by General Quiwonkpa was called the NPFL, and this second or maybe it's better to say this continuation of the NPFL, Ellen was also a very good part of it because Ellen was also a very close friend of General Quiwonkpa.

  • So she was involved in the Quiwonkpa coup?

  • Well, I am - you know, when you hear me say she was involved, I would not be able to give you all of the details because I'm sure you know from the Prosecution questions will come. I was out, but I know she was close to Quiwonkpa and the extent of her involvement, if I'm pressed on this, I wouldn't be able to give you the extent, but I do know she was associated with Quiwonkpa. She associated with the training outside where she knew about it, okay, and she knew about ours, but in my case she was really involved in helping me financially.

  • Financially how?

  • Ellen raised money throughout while the training was going on. In fact, I had taken the first two picture groups to her in Paris. She had then moved to the United States.

  • The first two what?

  • Picture groups. The first group - remember I mentioned here just before the break that the trainees went into groups. The first two groups had gone, and I did mention that in the second group was Moses Blah, or Blah. We had pictures of these combatants, so I flew into Paris. We met at Orly Airport. In fact at the Holiday Inn Hotel at Orly Airport where I was. She came and I showed her the two sets of pictures. She was very, very pleased and then this was really to convince her that her efforts were not being wasted in what she was doing.

    And by that I mean she was doing two things: Ellen raised most of the money that we needed for all of this movement in the early stage and even during combat and, secondly, I now cannot go back to the United States. She is, if I'm not mistaken, is working with a bank somewhere in the Washington DC area and has tremendous contacts. So we used Ellen to do our so-called diplomatic contacts outside and to raise money.

  • Now. Another name you mentioned was Tom Woweiyu?

  • Can I inquire whether we have a spelling for that name?

  • Now, do you recall telling us that he was a member of the union, ULAA?

  • And when did you first come across him?

  • I first met Tom in the early 70s, around 1972.

  • In the United States when I arrived, and this process of trying to put together the different organisations that I explained to the Court in different parts of the United States, Tom was stationed in the state of New Jersey, one of the largest chapters of the union, and was very influential in working with different groups in the New York, New Jersey area.

  • Now, did he remain in the United States during this period we're concerned with now when you're travelling around West Africa to put the NPFL together?

  • No, no, no. Tom made several trips to West Africa even before the men were moved to Libya, he made several trips. We were in and going through the organisational phase of this so he made several trips during the organisational phase. Ellen did not come to West Africa to see me during this phase of putting men together; she was busy in Washington. But, you know, Tom was in direct contact with her and whatever little funds she could raise he would bring it down. We moved to Libya, Tom is still coming in and out. He goes to Libya many, many times, even when I can't be there because I do not live in Libya, I only visit the camp maybe for a day or two, live at the Mataba, come back. Tom is moving up and down, but Ellen doesn't come.

  • Now, so we've dealt with Tom Woweiyu. I just want to ask you a little bit more, please, about Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. When had you first met her?

  • Ellen was in Liberia during the coup years of 1980, Ellen was there. Ellen had an apartment at a penthouse on Broad Street atop of the ministry of education building, so she was there. She went and came and became very friendly and very, very friendly.

  • And what about you; were you friends with her?

  • Yes, I knew Ellen at that time exactly. Because Quiwonkpa went nowhere almost without me, of course. We got to know each other then.

  • Yes, my question is very simple: Were you friends with her?

  • Well, I would say yes, because she was very close to my friend General Quiwonkpa, so we became friends.

  • And what about Johnson-Sirleaf's relationship with Doe?

  • No, to the best of my recollection Ellen really never got along with Doe.

  • And what happened to Ellen after the October 1985 elections in Liberia?

  • To the best of my recollection I think Ellen was arrested, she --

  • By Samuel Doe who was the President, and I understand that she managed to get out - I don't know how - of Liberia and she was saved by some, I understand, some mutual friends. It is believed that she was helped by a gentleman, a very good friend of hers, at least I hope they are still friends, called Gabriel Doe, I understand assisted in getting her out of the country when she got out of prison.

  • Now, so putting all of this together, who were the main people in putting together this second NPFL?

  • Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Charles Ghankay Taylor and Thomas Woweiyu, finally.

  • Were there others involved in an organisational capacity?

  • Not really. Not really. I just mentioned to the Court that there were others that dropped, including the gentleman I mentioned Toniya King. He dropped aside because he just wouldn't go to Libya; he was just frightened, he wouldn't go there. We're talking about the Cold War period and that name Libya was almost like black snake. But, you know, we appreciated Libya for what they were doing, supporting the whole pan-African idea, so we were not frightened to be labelled whatever they wanted to call us.

  • Now Toniya King, what was his background?

  • Toniya King is married to the daughter of the late President William R Tolbert that we discussed here that was killed in the coup d'etat by Doe and immediately thereafter he settled in la Cote d'Ivoire.

  • Now, was Toniya King in a position to provide any particular assistance to those seeking to put together the NPFL?

  • Definitely. Toniya assisted in providing the food, the contact. He's in la Cote d'Ivoire living with his wife. He's known by all of the senior people in the Ivorian establishment. Why?

    Remember I spoke about Daisy being married to AB Tolbert, the son of the late William R Tolbert, whose sister is married now to Toniya King. So there is sympathy in the establishment for that family in total and so he helps substantially. He helps in whatever way he can and I'm saying to you he breaks away at the Libyan part, that apparently he just couldn't take, I guess.

  • Apart from contacts with the Ivorian establishment, did he have any other contacts in Cote d'Ivoire?

  • Yes, of course. Toniya had been a very - he was trained in the intelligence field. In fact at the time of the coup d'etat in Liberia Toniya is what we call Commissioner of Immigration and Naturalisation, which is a part of the security establishment. He had good friends among the British and American embassies in Ivory Coast. He had very good contacts.

  • Contacts with whom within those embassies?

  • Of course the officials; the ambassador, the intelligence people, he knew all of them.

  • Intelligence people like whom?

  • I don't know the names of the individuals but when we talk about intelligence from the United States, especially external intelligence we're talking about, what, the central intelligence people. He did not introduce us to them because he's an intelligence officer but he had extensive contacts with them.

  • And was that of assistance to the NPFL?

  • Well, I didn't ask Toniya where he got his little money from, but he assisted with little funds and meals and things were just made easy for us. Remember now, moving people across West Africa from Ivory Coast to Burkina Faso to Libya, there was no leakage anywhere. No one nowhere anywhere on this planet knew at that particular time that Charles Taylor was training people in Libya. So I must assume that those connections were used very well because we moved people throughout that region. We got travel documents for them. So Toniya used his links very well.

  • Let me just pause for a moment. Dealing with the same topic, did you have a secretary when you were at the GSA, Mr Taylor?

  • Can you recall her name?

  • My secretary at the General Services Agency was called Grace B Minor. It was not just secretary, it was something like an assistant directorship and special assistant. Grace Beatrix Minor who later on also fled to the United States and after --

  • When did she flee to the United States?

  • At the time of my departure from the General Services Administration, when Clarence Momolu arrived at the GSA, he went after Grace Minor and the deputy Blamoh Nelson that I said is now a senator in Liberia. Blamoh remained in Liberia but Grace went to the United States and she remained in contact with me throughout this period and was the second main link to Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf; that was a very, very, very and very close buddy of Grace Minor.