Prosecutors say they want the jury panel disbanded from the trial of Liberia’s former National Port Authority or NPA Managing Director Matilda Parker and comptroller, Mrs. Christina Kpabar-Paelay in what may strike a complete setback against the US$800,000 economic sabotage trial.
Details in the application to disband the jury are not yet available as Criminal Court “C” at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia awaits the defense team’s written or oral resistance against the instrument before the court makes a decision.
Prosecutors filed the application with the Court on 10 February at 9:30am, requesting the court to disband the jury panel after several months of sitting as judges of facts over the case that resumed last year.
After acknowledging the receipt of the instrument from the prosecution, presiding Judge A. Blamo Dixon granted the defense request for 48 hours to allow them prepare to respond to the prosecution’s application.
“The court acknowledges receipt of an instrument filed by the Government of Liberia on February 10 at 9:30 am, captioned “Application to Disband the Jury,” growing out of the case at bar,” Judge Dixon said on Wednesday.
Ms. Parker and Mrs. Paelay were jointly indicted along with co-defendant-turned state witness Deneah Martin Flomo, who later gave troubling accounts in the case after being nolle prosequoi by prosecutors, alleging to have had business transactions with the two former NPA officials.
The former officials have denied charges of theft of property, economic sabotage and criminal facilitation after the Liberia Anti Corruption Commission or LACC investigation claimed to have discovered violation of the public procurement laws and failure to implement wreck removal and security consultancy contracts granted Mr. Flomo value over US$800,000.
Since the case resumed, the court has granted the jury panel the opportunity to seek medical examination at least on two different occasions, following the jury’s request, but the jurors rejected the first hospital they were sent to for examination. The court has set the next hearing of the case to Monday, 15 January at 10:30am.
By Winston W. Parley-Edited by George Barpeen