In a glaringly ‘troubling confession’ made in open court, second state witness Deneah Martin Flomo, who the National Port Authority or NPA allegedly awarded two contracts valued over US$800,000 under Ms. Matilda Parker’s administration claims he “unknowingly signed” the contracts.
Former Managing Director Ms. Parker, her comptroller Christiana Kpabar-Paelay and contractor Flomo, who was recently nolle prosequi, were jointly indicted late last year after their alleged failure to implement “wreck removal” and “security consultancy” contracts amounting to over US$800,000 that were allegedly awarded Flomo.
But appearing at the Criminal Court “C” Wednesday, 13 January as state witness, Mr. Flomo said he told the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission or LACC’s investigation that the signatures on the contracts were his, but he “got to know that” he “signed a contract unknowingly” when the commission presented him those documents.
He alleged Ms. Parker brought some documents for him to sign, but when he asked what was the purpose of the documents and if he could read them, she allegedly told him to “just sign” and he will get to know later.
“… And the pages were opened; she pointed her finger to where my … name was typed and I signed them. From that time on, I never met Ms. Parker, only the comptroller and myself were interacting,” witness Flomo testified in court.
The witness says he got to know Ms. Parker through Mrs. Paelay to whom an unnamed fellow from the Port had introduced him first at the time he was seeking a contract to supply the Freeport of Monrovia with stationery.
He further alleged Mrs. Paelay, then Comptroller of the NPA, facilitated the registration of his company under her preferred new name Denmar Enterprise with US$500; having objected to the previous name Deneah Martin Flomo Group of Companies or DMF.
At the start of business with him, Flomo says Mrs. Paelay, asked him to pre-finance stationery supply to the Port, and he allegedly did supply them US$3,000 worth of stationery. Following this supply, witness Flomo claims to have seen an invoice of US$250,000 written in his name with a fellow working in Mrs. Paelay’s office called Lawrence Dahn.
According to him, Lawrence told him to sign the invoice and a check made in his name to be encashed at the Ecobank. At this point, Flomo says he and Lawrence and Mrs. Paelay went at Ecobank’sVai Town Branch on Bushrod Island in Monrovia where he and Lawrence went in the banking hall and he (Flomo) encashed the check of US$250,000 after the bank called Mrs. Paelay to confirm the check.
Subsequently, he claims that he and Lawrence drove together while Mrs. Paelay drove in her car to her office where he says Mrs. Paelay only gave him his stationery supply contract payment of US$3,000 out of the US$250,000 upon hand-delivering the money to her.
The next time witness Flomo continues Mrs. Paelay wanted to see him, it was Lawrence Dahn who allegedly called him to the Port, this time, with an invoice for US$125,000 and check of US$125,000 in his (Flomo’s) name, telling him that the comptroller asked that he should encash it.
This time witness Flomo says only he and Dahn went at the bank, but during the encashment, he says the comptroller was called again for confirmation. When the money was allegedly hand-delivered to her at her office, witness Flomo alleged that he was given US$1,000 in appreciation; but told the court that he did not render service at this time except that Mrs. Paelay promised him stationery supply contract.
Besides the previous transactions mentioned, the witness says he received additional checks which he claims he did not know how much they amounted to; but recalled there were some with US$49,950; some US$36,000; some US$18,000, and that he encashed all of these and delivered them to Mrs. Paelay. The trial continues Friday, 15 January with more testimonies from witness Flomo. By Winston W. Parley-Edited by Jonathan Browne