More than one hundred vocal protesters, who for the past days have been chanting outside Criminal Court ‘C’ in favor of indicted and dismissed National Port Authority (NPA), Managing Director, Madam Matilda Parker, yesterday suddenly vanished, following a strongly worded statement by Chief Justice Francis Korkpor that the court house should never be used as a place for protest.
“Nobody should be allowed to use the courtroom or outside of the court house to stage a protest as doing so could influence the outcome of a case,” Chief Justice Korkpor scolded when he spoke with a group of protesting women at the Temple of Justice.
Based on the Chief Justice’s warning, defendant Parker’s supporters abandoned their protest and quietly took their places in the courtroom, while the jury selection process continued.
During the hearing both Parker’s legal team and state lawyers were able to successfully complete the selection of a 15 member jury panel that is expected to decide the economic sabotage case brought against defendants Parker and her Comptroller Christiana Kpabar Paelay.
The jurors were selected following two days of intense examination by Parker’s lawyers and state lawyers.
After the selection Judge Blamo Dixon set the hearing of the case to Tuesday, December 15.
The jury was then sequestered (quarantined) underground at the Temple of Justice, where they are expected stay until the final determination of the case.
Defendants Parker and Paelay are accused of duping the NPA of US$837,957 while they were serving in their respective posts, a claim they have denied.
They were also accused, along with businessman Deneah M. Flomo, owner of Demar Enterprise.
The prosecution claimed that Flomo connived with Madam Parker and Paelay to make over US$800,000 in illegal payments to his Demar Enterprise Company.
Flomo is reported to have confessed during interrogations at the office of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), that most of the money was deposited in his company’s account at Ecobank.
The LACC reported that Flomo received more than US$10,000 from the deal.