Suffering Russian National Accused UNHCR-Liberia

The Inquirer
Monrovia, Liberia

Distributed by

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

May 12, 2003

A Russian national, Gennady Pavlovic Medveder says the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Liberia should be held liable for his stolen ship, the famous "Zolotitsa".

Mr. Medveder recalled that his vessel "Zolotitsa" was stolen at the Kamsar Port in Guinea by the Captain Vladimir Teluslikin, an Estonian national, and the chief mate Raphael Bangura, a Guinean and a few elements of mafia in 1994.

After few years, Mr. Medveder explained that the stolen ship was given a so-called name "TOUBA" that sailed to the Freeport of Monrovia. The ship, according to him, was then operated by a Guinean lady whom he named as Fatu Kamara Bangura.

Touching on while the UNHCR should be held liable for his ship, Mr. Medveder explained further in his open letter to the United Nations (UN) Secretary General, Kofi Annan that the UNHCR was being held liable as the agency illegally transported refugees from Liberia to a neigboring state in the region.

"My ship was overloaded at the Freeport of Monrovia with people beyond the reasonable capacity", the suffering Russian lamented.

On a ship of 41 meters, more than 450 persons(refugees) were put onboard, illegally generating the sum of US$50,000. This act ended tragically with 10 persons dying according to my lawyer", Mr. Medveder explained.

"At the time when my ship drifted on the Atlantic Ocean, filled with refugees, a radio station from Geneva announced to the world that the ship "Zolotitsa" was a stolen ship and should be arrested, adding to his surprise, the UNHCR received my ship at the Freeport of Monrovia and after the announcement, the ship was unloaded and abandoned", the Russian Seaman further narrated.

Mr. Medveder furthered that in July 1998, the then police director, Col. Joe Tate ordered the ship impounded at the port on charges of theft and the illegal change of flag.

"Nevertheless, in December, 1998 the Port Authority violated the law when they criminally had the ship removed from the Freeport of Monrovia to the Port of Harper", he stressed.

He went on to say "the final of the entire mafia game was the complete stealing of the ship "Zolotitsa" at the Port of Harper by the Superintendent, Dan H. Morais. The ship sank and the Captain Vladimir Toushkin died allegedly from "African Science".

"The UN is acting like nothing ever happened and it does not attend to my problem. I have written them but no reply", Mr. Medveder informed the UN Secretary General.

"I have been denied entry into the UN compound in Liberia by the security because of their diplomatic status. Maybe towards mankind, the UN defends human rights only at the global level but does not care for individual cases", he wondered.

It is against this backdrop that the Russian seaman is appealing to the UN Secretary General to use his office and intervene to help change the attitude of the UNHCR official representative in Liberia toward his stolen vessel.

© 2003: This article is copyrighted by The Inquirer newspaper (Monrovia, Liberia) and distributed by The Perspective (Atlanta, Georgia). All rights reserved.