Failure on the part of Bishop Manasseh Conto of the Mission for Today Holy Church and Pastor Steve Kettor to post bonds last Friday was enough for Criminal Court ‘C’ at the Temple of Justice to put the two church leaders behind bars at the Monrovia Central Prison until their respective institutions can file bonds on their behalf.
Bishop Conto was arrested last Wednesday and later released without posting a bond by Judge Emery Paye after the clerk of the Monrovia City Court made a guarantee to the court to allow the bishop to go home and return the next day with his bond, which he failed to do.
As for Pastor Kettor, there was no way to allow him to go home because he was arrested on Friday after the court sheriff had on several occasions searched for him but to no avail. He was finally arrested on Friday.
The “religious pair” has been charged with theft of property and misapplication of entrusted property for allegedly duping a Korean businessman, Hungchi Choi, owner of Korea Trading Corporation, which deals in vehicle sale and rental services.
The document that brought Conto and Kettor under the jurisdiction of the court alleges that Pastor Kettor, who until Friday was at-large, entered into a vehicle rental contract with the World Food Program (WFP) Liberia office for a monthly payment of US$18,445, an amount the defendants collected for five months from October 13, 2014 to March 2015.
The court record alleges further that the company received the money in the name of SACS Group, created jointly by Kettor and Conto.
According to the document, the pair, along with one Smith, who is yet to be fully identified, used SACS Group for the sole purpose of siphoning money from the Korea Trading Corporation at a time when the company provided car rental services to many of its customers.
“Bishop Conto, Pastor Kettor and Smith received through Korea Trading Corporation’s Ecobank account number 0061024724121001, the amount of US$92,225, out of which the company allegedly received US$31,320, leaving a balance of US$60,905 unaccounted for,” the court record established.
The court record alleges that Kettor as general manager of Korea Trading Corporation, entered into an agreement on behalf of his company with the US Marines who came to the country to join the fight against the Ebola outbreak.
During the execution of the contract, Kettor rented two pickup trucks belonging to Korea Trading Corporation to the Marines, for which he allegedly received US$17,850, but only paid US$1,000 to the Corporation. He then failed to account for the balance amount of US$16,875.
While Choi was out of the country due to the outbreak of the Ebola virus, Kettor, without his boss’s permission, underpriced and sold five of the corporation’s vehicles for which it suffered a loss of US$13,200, according to the document.
“Kettor, without authority was involved in transportation business with 14 vehicles and generated US$32,630, whereupon you paid US$6,526 to the corporation, but failed to account for the balance of US$26, 104,” the indictment added.