Family members of the late Dan Orogun, former managing director of Guaranty Trust Bank (GT Bank), did not show up on Monday when the man accused of killing their father, George Kailondo, was formally charged with negligent homicide and recklessly endangering another person.
The Orogun family has been pressing for the prosecution of Kailondo over the death of their father.
Authorities of the Liberia National Police (LNP) brought the charges against Kailondo. After charging him, the LNP handed him over to the jurisdiction of the Monrovia City Court.
The offences are punishable under Chapter 14.3 and 14.23 of the Revised Penal Law of Liberia, although they qualify a person for bail.
Earlier, police told the court that defendant Kailondo failed to provide documents to prove whether or not he met any regulation of the Liberia Maritime reference for the possession and operation of a boat.
It was on Kailondo’s speed boat marked FL-6853-NV-Regal that Orogun and his wife and three children rode when he fell into and drowned in the Junk River in Marshall, Margibi County, on January 24.
When Kailondo was arraigned before the court to begin his trial, prosecution asked presiding magistrate Kennedy Peabody to adjourn the matter, a request the defense team did not oppose.
The state lawyers did not give any reason why none of Orogun’s family was present at the proceedings, although they have been seeking justice for his death since the incident.
Meanwhile there was drama during the brief proceedings, when defendant Kailondo was not seen sitting with other suspects on the prisoners’ bench.
Besides, Kailondo and his legal team were given the opportunity to move in and outside of the courtroom at will without being prevented by court staff.
Outside the courtroom, a member of the defense team was heard saying, “Kailondo has the freedom to move around the courtroom premises because the court has not issued the writ on him, so he is not under the court’s authority for now.”
Although Kailondo was escorted by LNP officers to court, his lawyer boasted that the court has not served his client any writ of arrest as of Monday. Kailondo’s lawyers also boasted of forcing the police to formally charge their client.
“The police never wanted to charge him because they have been investigating the incident from the beginning and yet they could not charge him,” the lawyer claimed.
According to the lawyer, the police took the decision to charge Kailondo after defense filed a complaint against the police to court regarding their continued delay in charging their client.
Under normal proceedings, a legal expert explained to the Daily Observer that in the case of Kailondo’s charges, “the police should have turned him over to the office of the County Attorney for Montserrado County, but that did not happen. Instead, the police surrendered him directly to the court.”
“This is a strange practice,” the legal expert indicated. He did not rule out any possibility of financial inducement.
Court documents allege that on January 24, Orogun, his wife and their three children as well as suspect Kailondo and others boarded the blue and white speed boat, FL-6853-NV-Regal, owned by Kailondo, for a ride on the Junk River, in Marshall, Margibi County.
While out on the boat, the records claim, Kailondo allowed Orogun and each of his three children to pilot the boat, one at a time.
It was during that period that Kailondo increased speed, causing Orogun to fall off the boat into the river.
“Besides, there was no safety jacket aboard during the time of the accident,” the document claims.
Kailondo could not say whether or not the police version of the incident was true because prosecution’s request to suspend the matter on Monday meant he could not respond to the charges.