Key documentary evidence heavily relied upon by the government to prosecute former National Port Authority (NPA) Managing Director Matilda Parker and her Comptroller Christiana Kparbar Paelay was discovered by the defense team yesterday to be laden with several inconsistencies.
The document is considered by the LACC as the “Final Report in Allegations of Corruption at the NPA, regarding Wreck Removal and Port Security Consultancy.”
It was collated from 15 persons including board members of the NPA and several entities.
It was also based on that report that the defendants are being tried on multiple crimes, including economic sabotage.
The pair has been on trial for allegedly awarding two contracts, removal of wrecks from Greenville Port and to provide security consultancy, to Denmar Enterprise owned by a Liberian businessman, identified as Deneah Martin Flomo in the amount of US$837,950.
However, the LACC claimed the money was received without the work being done.
A review of hundreds of pages of the documents in court yesterday revealed numerous examples of “voluntary statements” made by witnesses, including the defendants, who appeared before the LACC’s investigation, said to have contained inconsistencies.
The final report presented to the court as state’s evidence was dated April 14, 2015, but showed that voluntary statements were collected from the witnesses between May and July of 2015, suggesting that the statements were taken between one to three months after the final report was compiled and submitted to the government.
Another one was the exclusion of the voluntary statement made by the then NPA’s board chair, Mr. Nathaniel Barnes, when he was also investigated by the LACC.
The only summary of Mr. Barnes’ voluntary statement reported in the LACC’s final report was left out.
There were also two separate voluntary statements of the Managing Director of the Greenville Port, Mr. J. Darfur Wah, regarding the wreck removal at the port.
In one of the statements, dated January 16, 2015, the LACC quoted Mr. Wah during its investigation as saying, “the wreck work was done on the port, but I don’t know, which company did the job, because I don’t have a copy of the contract.”
Another statement dated July 13, 2015, after the LACC final’s report was submitted to government, also quoted Mr. Wah as saying, “I can remember the name of two companies that did the wreck removal. They are G-Four and the Buchanan Renewable Energy (BRE).”
The defense team exposed these inconsistencies before the jury, which could likely influence their decision not to find the defendants guilty, when they cross-examined prosecution’s first witness and chief examiner of the LACC, Mr. Blamo Koffa.
When Koffa was asked by Atty. Arthur Johnson, a member of the defense team, to explain about the dates appearing on the LACC’s final report, he said, “It is true as to what the document says, it happens because we conducted two separate investigations with the witnesses on those dates.”
“We did the first investigation and submitted our findings to the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) on the April date.” He said, “Later the ministry asked us to do another investigation, which we did and subsequently submitted that report to the ministry on the other date.”
According to Mr. Koffa, during his investigations of the witnesses, some of the witnesses did not cooperate with his team.
However, when asked by Atty. Johnson how the investigation was conducted, he responded, “Everything went very well.”
The case continues.