Minutes after Criminal Court ‘C’ released both ‘bishop’ Manaseh Conto and ‘pastor’ Steve Kettor on a US$468,336 bail following their detention at the Monrovia Central Prison on allegation of duping Korean investor Hungchi Choi of US$155,797, prosecutors began pushing the court to deny the bond and allow the defendants to go back to jail.
The bond was posted by the International Insurance Company of Liberia on behalf of the accused, but prosecutors are arguing that the bank failed to present several documents, such as a recent bank statement.
Despite prosecution’s argument, Judge Emery Paye allowed the two ‘religious’ leaders to go back home, until the court can decide the merits and demerits of the state lawyers’ contention.
There was no definite date set for the court to hear the alleged bond defect allegation.
If it is established that the International Insurance Company’s bail is faulty, the pair would be arrested until a valid bond can be secured by their lawyers.
Dramatically, after Conto and Kettor were released yesterday, some women believed to be members of Bishop Conto’s Mission for Today Holy Church in the New Kru Community and those of the Korean investor nearly got into a fist fight at the Temple of Justice.
But they were separated by some lawyers and bystanders who themselves had gone to the Temple of Justice to attend to some legal matters.
During the argument, some of the women were heard saying, “You liar, why do you have to lie on the bishop for him to go to jail? God will punish those responsible for the disgrace they brought on the bishop.”
In response, Choi told the women that their ‘bishop’ allegedly “stole from me, and this is what he deserves for his action.”
Bishop Conto and Pastor Kettor were arrested last Thursday and detained at the Monrovia Central Prison, when they could not secure their bond.
They were accused of robbing the Korea Trading Corporation (KTC), a vehicle and spare parts sale and rental services. Kettor was KTC’s general manager.
Choi, who is the owner of the company, claimed that while he was out of the country due to the Ebola virus outbreak, the two religious leaders sold and rented some of his vehicles, thereby raising several hundred thousand United States dollars and converted the proceeds into their personal use.
He also alleged that the defendants rented some of his company’s vehicles to the US Military, which came to Liberia to help in the fight against Ebola, as well as the World Food Program (WFP); and deposited the money into the defendants’ established company, which he named as SACS; a claim the defendants are yet to appear in court on, to say whether or not they are guilty.
The case continues.