A hearing that was expected to give ‘Bishop’ Manasseh Conto and his co-defendant ‘Pastor’ Steve Kettor a chance to exonerate themselves from the allegation of stealing US$155,930 did not take place on Wednesday because the ‘religious pair’ have requested the court to recalculate the money.
They were to appear before Criminal Court ‘C’ on Wednesday to answer whether or not they are guilty of the indictment that they stole US$155,930 from the Korea Trading Corporation in Monrovia.
When Judge Yamie Quiqui Gbeisay called the case for trial on Wednesday, the defense team begged the court to allow them to make an application before their clients answer to the charges.
They then asked Judge Gbeisay to prevail on the government to hire a financial expert to recount and establish the actual amount of money that was missing from the company’s coffers. The motive of the request remains a mystery.
However, Judge Gbeisay accepted their request since prosecution did not object to it. The judge immediately postponed the entire case.
Before announcing his decision, Judge Gbeisay declared, “this matter has been lingering in this court since 2015. While everybody is equal before the law, it is expedient to give timely attention to a matter involving a foreign resident of our land.”
According to Gbeisay, the court is obliged to give justice to all especially where the interest of a foreign national is involved. “This court will do everything in its power to ensure that this matter involving the Korean national is determined fully and justice is done to all parties,” he declared.
Meanwhile, Judge Gbeisay said it was the defense team that asked for a pretrial conference, “since the content of the indictment involves interaction and transaction of money matter, (for) which they required a trained financial person to determine what was received and expended.”
Conto and Kettor are accused of stealing US$155,930 from the Korea Trading Company that the ‘bishop’ helped to establish in 2013.
The scandal rocked the company when charges were filed against the two ‘religious leaders’ in 2016.