The Criminal Court “C” has dismissed the indictment drawn against former National Port Authority (NPA) Managing Director Matilda Parker and her former comptroller, Mrs. Christina Kpabar – Paelay.
The court’s decision came Wednesday, 11 April following prosecution’s request for postponement of the case for a day due to absence of its first line of witnesses to commence the trial.
The two officials were indicted in 2015 under the regime of former President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf following the awarding of two contracts for the dredging and removal of wrecks from the Port of Greenville, in Sinoe County.
They were charged with theft of property, economic sabotage and criminal conspiracy for allegedly defrauding government of US$837,950.00 between July 2011 and December 2012.
Rejecting the prosecution’s request to postpone the hearing for a day, presiding Judge BoimaKontoe rules that the prosecution failed to show good cause [for its excuse].
The first trial of this case was disrupted by prosecution’s claim of jury tampering during Mrs. Sirleaf’s administration, following which the Supreme Court on 4 October 2017 mandated a new trial.
When the case was called in September 2018 for new trial, prosecution asked the court to make as part of the records, its six witnesses’ testimony that were given in the first trial.
This request was resisted by defense, but the court granted the prosecution’s request and the case was later reassigned to be heard on Wednesday, 10 April 2019.
However, the prosecution again informed the court on Wednesday that it wanted postponement of the hearing for a day due to absence of its first line of witnesses.
But Judge Kontoe says he is taken aback by the prosecution’s repeated request for continuance (postponement) that it contacted its witnesses who are absent from court.
The government during Mrs. Sirleaf’s regime claimed that Madam Parker and Mrs. Paelay allegedly designed awarding two “sole source” contracts to co-defendant Deneah Martins Flomo and his Denmar Enterprise.
But Deneah was used instead as State witness in the first trial which was disrupted by prosecution’s claim of alleged jury tampering.
The State said the contracts were allegedly awarded without the approval of the Public Procurement and Concession Commission (PPCC).
Under the contracts, the State alleged that defendant Flomo and his Denmar Enterprise had obligation to remove wrecks from the Port of Greenville and provide security consultancy at the ports of Monrovia, Buchanan and Greenville on behalf of the NPA.
In both the first and second trials, the defendants denied all the charges brought against them. by the State.By Winston W. Parley