The Criminal Court “C” in Monrovia has declined to dismiss an indictment drawn against former National Port Authority (NPA) Managing Director Ms. Matilda Parker and her former comptroller Mrs. Christiana Kpabar – Pailey for economic sabotage. Ms. Parker had argued in a 25 – count motion to dismiss the indictment that she deserves to be covered under executive immunity because she operated as agent of former President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf for the removal of wrecks and dredging of the Greenville Port, Sinoe County.
The Court could not grant Ms. Parker’s request to dismiss the indictment Wednesday morning, 26 September because it finds that she has already been arraigned and she entered a plea of not guilty, thus joining issues with the State.
The case has been reassigned for hearing Thursday, 27 September with the State expected to begin production of witnesses.But her lawyer Cllr. Arthur T. Johnson has taken exception to the court’s decision and announced that he will take advantage of the statutes controlling.
The former NPA Managing Director and her former comptroller were indicted on multiple charges of theft of property, economic sabotage and criminal conspiracy for allegedly defrauding government of US$837,950.00 between July 2011 and December 2012.
The first trial of this case began in January 2016,but it was disrupted by prosecution’s claims of jury tampering nearing the conclusion of the trial.The entire jury panel was dissolved and a retrial was ordered by the Supreme Court this year following which the accused have waived trial by jury.
The prosecution does not share the defense’s view that Ms. Parker is covered by executive immunity in this case, contending that the principal Mrs. Sirleaf who should have shielded Mrs. Parker “took away said immunity.”
The State maintains that the fact that Mrs. Parker was subjected to criminal investigation and subsequent prosecution, President Sirleaf knew that the defendants’ acts were contrary to her request for the ports to be dredged and security enhanced at the ports.
By Winston W. Parley