MONROVIA, Montserrado â€“ Advocate Vandalark Patricks, who was recently arrested and charged for sedition and criminal libel against President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and later released from Monrovia Central Prison on bail, has been hospitalized at the S.O.S. Medical Center in Congo Town.
Since he was released from prison, Patricks has been complaining of medical complications. He said an armed officer of the Liberia National Police Emergency Response Unit, or ERU, injected his body with a sharp instrument en route to the prison.
Patricks wrote the president asking for an investigation of the ERU officer. He also sought permission to travel out of the country to seek advance medication.
On Sunday, March 20, journalists, family members, and friends who had gone to visit Patricks at the medical clinic were denied access.
After several hours, The Bush Chicken made its way into the medical center to speak to Patricks.
He appeared to not be in his right mind and struggled to sit on his hospital bed to speak to this news outlet.
Speaking in a raspy and barely audible voice, Patricks said he had earlier received a plane ticket from one of his sisters in Ghana to fly there for a medical checkup.
â€œI went to the Roberts International Airport on March 13 and did all of my check-in and while in the process of boarding the plane, two officers of the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization, including two plain clothes security officers, approached and prevented me from travelling,â€ Patricks pointed out.
He maintained that his passport was also seized in the process, adding â€œthe officers informed me that they were acting on the orders of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf not to allow me to leave the country.â€
Abraham Ahmed Dolley, Public Relations Chief at the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization confirmed to The Bush Chicken that BIN officers have seized Vandalark Patricks Passport.
According to Dolley, BIN is under a statutory mandate to regulate who enters and leaves Liberia.
He said that Patricks was indicted by the grand jury at the Temple of Justice for sedition and criminal libel against President Sirleaf.
â€œIf Patricks intended on leaving the country for advanced medical treatment abroad, he should have to obtain clearance from the court or Ministry of Justice,â€ he maintained.
He stressed that predicated upon Patricksâ€™ refusal to obtain clearance led to his passport being seized, noting the passport is in safekeeping at the BIN office.
Patricks added that on Saturday, March 20, he traveled to Bong County to attend a program in honor of Radio Gbarnga.
â€œWhile in Gbarnga, I started experiencing severe stomach pain coupled with malaria and typhoid and had to leave the program for Monrovia,â€ he said.
He explained that he left Gbarnga that same day and upon arrival at S.O.S., doctors confirmed that he was suffering from several stomach complications.
He said he was earlier given a medical report by the acting medical director of the medical center, James N. Lewis, to enable him to seek medical treatment abroad.
â€œThe sharp instrument used on me is seriously having a psychological effect on me,â€ Patricks said.
According to the medical report, the patient is advised to seek medical care abroad where a CT scan or MRI will be done for further evaluation and treatment.
He maintained that the medical report was submitted to Justice Minister Benedict Sannoh by his lawyer Tiawon Gongloe without any response as of now.
He also mentioned that there is a swollen growth around his rectum which is making it very difficult for him to sit.
When The Bush Chicken contacted Sam Collins, Liberia National Police spokesperson on Patrickâ€™s claim that he was injured by an armed ERU officer with a sharp instrument, Collins said he needed a copy of the medical report before speaking on the issue.
Presidential Spokesperson Jerolinmek Piah described Patricksâ€™ assertion that the officers were acting on the orders of Sirleaf as â€œabsolute nonsense,â€ noting that Patricks had always been disrespecting the presidency.
â€œIs Patricks going out of his mind,â€ Piah said.
According to Piah, Patricks should not be in the business of using the presidentâ€™s name as an escape route to get out of his sedition and criminal libel court case.
Meanwhile, the latest report reaching The Bush Chicken says that Patricks has been discharged from S.O.S.
Feature photo by Zeze Ballah