NPA Indicted Officials Free on US$1.2M Bail

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Suspended National Port Authority (NPA) Managing Director, Matilda Parker and her Controller, Christina K. Paelay, will remain free while they decide whether to cooperate with the government or fight what prosecutors have called the biggest ever criminal scheme discovered in the country.
Judge Peter Gbeneweleh of Criminal Court ‘C’ at the Temple of Justice allowed Parker and Paelay, who served the port for several years, to remain free on a US$1.2m bond secured on their behalf by the Family Dollar Universal Insurance on Tuesday, while the case continues.
Prosecutors accused Parker and Paelay of designing a criminal scheme whereby they awarded two sole-source contracts without the approval of the Public Procurement and Concession Commission (PPCC) to co-defendant Deneah M. Flomo and his Denmat Enterprise on behalf of the NPA from 2011 to 2012.
The alleged contracts were for co-defendant Flomo to remove wreckage from the port of Greenville, Sinoe County, and the provision of security consultancy at the ports of Monrovia, Buchanan, Grand Bassa County and Greenville at the agreed priced of US$500,000 and US$300,000 respectively.
The accused further made fraudulent payment of funds from the NPA’s accounts to co-defendant Flomo for expertise, which amounted to US$837,950.
They will face many years behind bars if they are convicted.
Surprisingly, the bond secured by the insurance company does not explicitly identify the time they will appear before the Court neither did it restrict their movements in and out of the country.
Instead, it read, “the condition of this bond is such that the insurers shall appear before the Honorable Court and hereafter from day to day to answer all charges for economic sabotage, theft of property and criminal conspiracy until they are duly discharged from said crimes.”
It further said, “If convicted of said crimes they will surrender unto the custody of the Honorable Court to undergo the full sentence of the law and their presence shall become null and void or otherwise to remain in full and effect.”
“It continues, “They would appear before the Honorable Court on the ——day of ———-AD 2015, at the hour of ________.” No specific date of their appearance in court was written on the bond sheet.
But, several legal experts who spoke with the Daily Observer expressed fears that if the case is delayed there is a likelihood that the defendants may flee the country, “because there is no provision in the bond to restrict the defendants’ movements.”
They also raised the issue of whether the insurance company has the financial muscle to pay back the over US$800,000 allegedly misapplied by the defendants, if they were to jump bail as happened in the First International Bank (FIB) US$1.2m theft case in which the defendants escaped.
In that case the defendants were charged in 2010. Unfortunately, their case was scheduled for hearing in 2015, which the legal experts argued that the prolonged delay on the part of government to prosecute those defendants caused them to escape the country.

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