For the second day, the defense team representing suspended National Port Authority (NPA) Managing Director, Madam Matilda Parker and her comptroller, Christiana Kpabar Paeley, prevented the defendants from publicly responding to the charges levied against them by the government.
They were arraigned before Judge Blamo Dixon yesterday to openly say whether or not they were guilty of duping the NPA of over US$800,000.
Before they instructed their clients to stay tight-lipped, Parker and Paeley’s defense team embarrassed last Tuesday’s hearing by filing two separate motions on the day of the case, which restricted Judge Blamo Dixon of Criminal Court ‘C’ from further deliberating into the matter.
In their request, they sought the court’s approval for government to make its evidence available to them and to allow Parker and Paeley to be separately tried.
That request prompted Judge Dixon to suspend the case and reschedule it for hearing yesterday.
The call for the separate trials was based on an alleged confession by Deneah M. Flomo and his Denmar Enterprise during interrogations by the Liberia Anti- Corruption Commission (LACC).
The defense team’s request was accepted by Judge Dixon, who later rescheduled the matter for hearing yesterday, to provide time for the State’s lawyers to produce their evidence.
However, when prosecutors presented their evidence, which included an alleged Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between the NPA management and Flomo for the provision of port security coordination of the International Information Ship Port Department, the defense team objected.
When the final reports into the allegation of corruption at NPA regarding wreck and ISPS constituency as well as statements made by several individuals, including Madam Parker, during an interrogation by LACC, were turned over by Judge Dixon to the defense team to allow their clients to answer to their charges, a member of the team, Atty. Arthur Johnson, asked the court to give them more time to review them.
That request was objected by the prosecution on grounds that it was intended to delay the matter. They then asked Judge Dixon to deny it.
Judge Dixon reserved ruling into the request until Tuesday next week.
Meanwhile, as Atty. Johnson was making his presentation to study the evidence yesterday, a huge crowd, including several former government officials and close relatives of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, cheered whenever Madam Parker’s lawyers said anything. They also booed whenever the prosecution uttered a word.