State lawyers pushing for the conviction of suspended National Port Authority (NPA) Managing Director Matilda Parker for allegedly misapplying over US$800,000 made a sudden about-face yesterday when they conceded to produce witnesses to testify against Parker.
Initially, prosecution had prayed Judge Bioma Kontoe to deny the request by lawyers for Parker and Paelay to produce witnesses who had earlier testified in their defense when the matter was suspended after prosecution lawyers made allegations of jury tampering.
The allegation was challenged by Parker’s lawyers, who contended that the prosecution produced their witnesses in person so they could testify and be cross-examined.
The request by lawyers representing Parker was denied by Judge Kontoe, which prompted them to file a complaint before Justice Youh in respect of which a stay order was imposed on Kontoe’s ruling, pending determination of the matter.
It was during yesterday’s argument that government lawyers conceded they have since relocated all of their witnesses and are prepared to ensure that they appear and testify.
Shortly afterwards, Justice Youh said the Court would lift the Alternative Writ of Prohibition previously issued and that she would communicate with the lower court to resume jurisdiction over the matter.
According to Justice Youh, the Supreme Court’s earlier mandate was for the trial court to start the case afresh and that all witnesses be placed on the stand to testify and be cross-examined by parties.
Parker, together with her Comptroller Madam Christiana Kpabar Paeley and Mr. Deneah Flomo, the proprietor of Denmar Enterprises, was expected to appear yesterday to answer to multiple charges which included theft of property, economic sabotage and criminal conspiracy.
Co-defendant Flomo is the most important person in the case because, according to the indictment, “between July 2011 to December 2012 Co-Defendants Matilda Parker and Christiana Kpabar Paelay, then Managing Director and Comptroller of the National Port Authority (NPA), committed fraud by designing a criminal scheme under which they awarded two source contracts to Deneah M. Flomo and his Denmar Enterprise on behalf of the National Port Authority,” without the approval of the Public Procurement and Concession Commission (PPCC).
The document alleged that the contract was for the removal of wrecks from the Port of Greenville, and the provision of security consultancy at the ports of Monrovia, Buchanan, and Greenville, valued at US$500,000 and US$300,000, respectively.
The indictment further said they made fraudulent payments from the account of the National Port Authority (NPA) to Deneah M. Flomo for their personal use and benefits, including self-acclaimed expertise that Flomo and his Denmar Enterprise did not possess, and services which were never rendered by Mr. Flomo and his entity to the National Port Authority (NPA) under the two contracts worth US$800,000.
The case continues.