Indictees’ lawyers blunder
Criminal Court “C” in Monrovia has observed that the procedure adopted by the counsels representing indicted officials of the National Port Authority, including Matilda Parker, was “not consistent” with law.
The defense counsels appeared before presiding Judge Peter W. Gbeneweleh Monday, 3 August to justify a bail bond already challenged by prosecutors, when the defense requested the court to “take judicial notice” of the instrument testified to by an insurance company’s representative, George Gbormoi, Sr.
The Family Dollars Universal Insurance company’s representative, Mr. Gbormoi had contended that no court has communicated with his company that it can no longer issue bond, displaying on the witness stand what, he said, were copies of tax clearance, as well as certificate from Bureau of Insurance and business registration, among others.
But the prosecutors contended, in resistance, that the “purported instruments” mentioned in the testimony of the surety’s representative, Mr. Gbormoi, were not properly before the court, and that the state could not cross-examine the witness on the basis of such documents of which the defense required the court to take judicial notice.
Liberia’s Solicitor General Betty Lamin Blamo argued that the defense had photocopies of two separate tax clearances- one of which, she claimed, was dated March 2, 2015 and expired within 90 days, questioning the averse party whether they were requesting the court to take judicial notice of the “expired one or the other one” without their originals.
She said the prosecution would subpoena the Central Bank of Liberia or CBL for testimony with regards to the legal operations of the surety. The state argued that the instruments first have to be submitted, identified by the witness, cross-examined, marked and admitted into evidence before requesting judicial notice of said documents.
The suspended NPA Managing Director, Matilda Parker and several suspended officials, including NPA Director Christina Kpabar-Paelay, comptroller Deneah M. Flomo and a sole proprietor of Denmar Enterprise Mr. Deneah M. Flomo were indicted formally for economic sabotage, theft of property and criminal conspiracy.
Prosecutors claimed that the Suspended M.D Parker and team of officials allegedly conspired with co-defendant Flomo and his Denmar Enterprise to defraud the government of US$837,950 between July 2011 and December 2012.
They allegedly designed a criminal scheme in which co-defendant Parker and Paelay awarded two “sole source” contracts without the approval of the Public Procurement and Concession Commission or PPCC to defendant Flomo and his Denmar Enterprise.
The alleged contracts – valued US$500,000 and US$300,000 respectively – were aimed at empowering defendant Flomo and his Denmar Enterprise to remove the wrecks from the Port of Greenville, as well as provide security consultancy to the ports of Monrovia, Buchanan and Greenville on behalf of the NPA.
The surety for the defense – Family Dollars Universal Insurance company, testified yesterday that it met all requirement set up by the Central Bank of Liberia to insure any Liberian. The company’s underwriter witness, Gbormoi, testified to a certificate that he said was issued the company by the CBL on March 30, 2014, saying further that the bank requires insurance company to have US$400,000 cash and LD$350,000 in property in order to be licensed.
He further said the insurance entity has to produce a “reinsurance entity value in the amount of $750,000 USD” -something he said his company met. The court denied the defense’s application and reassigned hearing of the matter for today, Tuesday, August 4 at 2pm.
The defendants are represented by former River Gee Senator Frederick Cherue and Cllr. Musa Dean, while state lawyers include SG Blamo, Montserrado County Atty. Darku Mulbah, Cllr. Theophilus C. Gould and LACC’s Othello S. Paymah, among others.