The over US$800,000 economic sabotage case filed by the government against the suspended managing director of the National Port Authority (NPA), Matilda Parker and her Comptroller Christina Kpabar-Paelay, failed to resume yesterday due to request by Parker’s legal team praying Criminal Court ‘C’ to dismiss the charges against the pair.
In their ‘Motion for Dismissal’ filed before the court copy obtained the Daily Observer, Cllr. Arthur Johnson argued that Parker, former Managing Director for the NPA, was personally instructed by former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf with urgency to take such action as is necessary to expedite the removal of wrecks and dredging of the Port of Greenville, including the termination of present arrangements and entering more viable alternative arrangement, as necessary.
However, prosecution had argued that Parker and Paelay, following the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) investigative report, were charged for making payment of over US$800,000 to a purported company, Demeah Martin Flomo, to have won lucrative dredging, security training and uniforms contacts for several ports including the Greenville Port in Sinoe County.
They also alleged that Parker collected the money and failed to perform the work.
Besides, economic sabotage, the defendants were also charged with criminal conspiracy and theft of property based on her failure to complete the projects.
Further to their argument, Johnson said, when Sirleaf instructed Parker to remove Wrecks and carry out dredging, she was by then acting as Agent of the President and also acted under specific instructions of the President.
Therefore, Cllr. Johnson argued that “They are entitled to enjoy the immunities enjoyed by the President and are immune from ordinary processes of the Court for acts carried out under the specific instructions of the President, since indeed and in fact the President is constitutionally immune from prosecution.”
According to Johnson, during the implementation of the President’s Instructions, pursuant to that specific mandate, several other meetings and discussions were held, at which time the instructions were given directly to Parker.
“Some of which are confidential and cannot be disclosed because of presidential immunity, and they are even above Attorney-Client Privilege, which Counsels for Movants advise Movants not disclose to the Movants’ Legal Team and cannot be revealed in open Court or demanded by Court processes because they are privileged.
They also argued that Parker operated under the Board of Directors of the NPA, which Board of Directors reports to the President of Liberia.
“Under the Act, the President may assign certain functions to Parker, while serving as Managing Director of the NPA and, under such condition, reports to the President directly,” said Johnson.
He argued that under the given circumstances, Parker operated as Agent of the President and was covered by Executive Immunity at the time she was given a specific instruction by the President, Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.
Parker’s lawyer also argued that while she was in the discharge of her duty at NPA, Parker received direct and strict instructions in a Letter addressed to her from the President.
“Parker acted in strict conformity with the President’s instructions; by obeying the strict instructions of the President categorically placed her in the capacity of “Agents of the President,” Johnson claimed.
Therefore, Johnson argued, Parker was not accountable to a Court of Law for actions performed in that capacity while the President is in her term of office under the “Doctrine of Executive Immunity”.
Ellen’s letter to Parker, Johnson argued qualifies that the President has absolute immunity from all legal proceedings for her official acts, as long as the President was acting within the outer perimeter of the duties of the office.
“This particular immunity extends to any person, official, or agent acting within the scope of the President’s authority,” Parker lawyer maintained.
“For this Court to continue its judicial inquiry or proceedings against the defendants, it will portray a violation of the very foundation that our nation is built on the principle of separate of powers and checks and balances, and Executive Immunity,” Johnson argued, pleading for the dismissal of the charges against the pair.
“This Executive Immunity that is accorded the President of Liberia extends to any person who acts, or acted under the authority of the President’s decision, thereby considered as agent of the President,” he emphasized.
Up to present this newspaper was not able to get the response of the prosecution to the defense’s motion for dismissal.
More to come…