Drama unfolded yesterday at Criminal Court ‘C’ when a female bailiff (court officer), Bendu Dukuly, openly accused members of the Jury Management Team of conspiring with her to bribe the sequestrated jurors to influence the outcome of the ongoing economic sabotage case involving former National Port Authority (NPA) Managing Director Matilda Parker and her Comptroller Christiana Kpabar Paelay.
Dukuly’s allegation comes immediately after prosecution asked the court to disband the jury, arguing that they have documentary evidence to establish that the defendants had tampered with the panel.
Prosecution claimed that its request was based on a four page letter intercepted between two of the bailiffs that are assigned directly with the sequestrated jurors.
After learning about the alleged jury tampering, Judge Blamo Dixon yesterday questioned each of the bailiffs about whether they had been approached on the case.
Dukuly and Roland Nyankun admitted that they received four separate letters from the Jury Management Team on January 30. Both Dukuly and Nyankun were responsible for the welfare of the jurors who had been sequestrated in the basement of the Temple of Justice since November 2015.
Bailiff Dukuly alleged that two of the four letters came from the Jury Management Team and the others were given to her by Madam Jenneh Kamara, an employee of the Judiciary who was assigned as a cook for the jurors.
“After I received the letters, one Winston Fayiah who is believed to be the deputy director of the jury management team called me in caucus in his office and set me down,” Bailiff Dukuly further alleged.
“While we were in Fayiah’s private office,” Dukuly said, he asked her if she knew two of the jurors Melvin and Kebbeh.
“I said I know the girl and I do not know the boy and there he told me that the discussion was a secret one and he never wanted anybody to know about it. This is why we are coming into business,” Dukuly quoted the conversation she held with a member of the Jury Management Team.
According to Dukuly, after two days Fayiah called her and they went back to their secret place in the office of the Jury Management Team.
“In our meeting he asked me again whether I know Melvin and Kebbeh and I said to him yes,” the Bailiff narrated.
She said during their meeting Fayiah allegedly told her that he had a note for her.
“He gave me the note and asked me to take it secretly to the two jurors and that the office should not know about it. He gave me five hundred Liberian dollars,” bailiff Dukuly further explained.
She alleged that after she left Fayiah’s office she went straight to the police and gave the note to them.
“The officers received the note from me and they said what I did was right,” she said.
According to her, the second letter she received from the kitchen she also took to the police.
As for Bailiff Nyankun, he alleged that he received the note but it was Madam Dukuly who gave the letters to him.
“While I was sitting outside of the jury’s quarters I heard Dukuly arguing on certain things. Later she called me and said that she got something to show me, but was afraid,” Nyankun explained.
“She late told me that she received the letter from the kitchen and she said she received five hundred Liberian dollars and another letter from Fayiah and later police came and intercepted the letter,” Nyankun explained.
The Jury Management Team was established in early 2015 in an effort to revamp the judicial system with the mandate to monitor the number of available grand and traverse jurors to establish the need to develop new juror lists.
They are also to conduct juror orientation; monitor judges’ court schedules, identify the number of trials scheduled and determine the appropriate number of jurors to summon for jury duty, among others.
The case continues.