Judge Blamo Dixon of Criminal Court ‘C’ yesterday postponed the hearing of the suspended National Port Authority (NPA) Managing Director, Matilda Parker.
According to Judge Dixon, he was constrained yesterday to postpone arraignment for both Parker and her comptroller, Christiana Kpabar Paelay, who were expected to answer to their charges.
“The court is constrained to grant the defense team’s request to postpone the matter due to the medical condition of codefendant Paelay and to adjourn the case for today (yesterday) for the ailing condition of the codefendant,” Judge Dixon said yesterday.
“Because of Paelay being absent in court, we cannot allow the court to arraign the defendants for the reading of the indictment to them, since they were jointly charged and both of them asked for severance (separate trial), which the court granted.
“The two defendants are to appear before the court on Thursday for the reading of the charges in the open courtroom, and they are to be physically present on that day for the hearing.”
Judge Dixon warned the defense team to make sure that their clients were present and on time for the reading of the indictment (charges).
Besides that, Dixon said his decision to suspend the case was intended to give the defense team additional time to review and study the prosecution’s new evidences that they provided to the court yesterday, based on a request from the defense team.
Yesterday’s suspension of the case was the third time in a row that Parker and Paelay have been prevented from answering to the charges, which is the precondition for the commencement of their criminal trial.
The Judge’s decision came after Parker’s legal team asked the court to suspend their clients’ responding to the multiple charges, which include economic sabotage, criminal conspiracy and theft of property for their alleged roles in the disappearance of US$800,000 from the NPA’s account.
Prosecutors also alleged that two accused persons by awarding two sole source contracts without the approval of the Public Procurement and Concession Commission (PPCC) to Deneah M. Flomo and his Denmar Enterprise on behalf of the NPA for the removal of wrecks from the port of Greenville, Sinoe County, and the provision of security consultancy at the ports of Monrovia, Buchanan, and Greenville, caused the state to lose US$800,000 (the respective price tags of US$500,000 and US$300,000 per contract).
Lawyers representing the defendants argued that codefendant Paelay was not medically fit to appear before the court yesterday to say whether or not she was guilty, a request Judge Dixon accepted and postponed the case until Thursday.
Parker, who was seated in the dock behind her legal team, had her head bowed throughout yesterday’s deliberation.
She was in closed door discussions with the only female member of her legal team, Cllr. Pearl Brown Bull, most of the day.
After walking Parker out of the court yesterday, Cllr Bull was spotted stopping people observed to be supporters of her client from having any contact or conversation with her, while she (Bull) alone accompanied Parker to a parked black jeep.