The Supreme Court last Friday issued an order suspending further proceedings in the ongoing economic sabotage case involving former National Port Authority (NPA) Managing Director Matilda Parker and her Comptroller Christiana Kpabar Paelay.
The court’s decision, which was issued by Justice in Chamber, Associate Justice Jamesetta H. Wolokollie, was based on a complaint filed by state lawyers, asking the court to mandate Judge Blamo Dixon of Criminal Court ‘C’ to deliver his recent ruling in a jury tampering investigation for review.
Judge Dixon last week in his jury tampering allegation refused to disband the sequestrated jury, but managed to drop three of the 15 members of the jurors, (Kissi Kamara, Kebbeh Kollie and Melvin Teah Neowen) who the prosecution accused of being behind a plot to collect money from the defendants to influence the outcome of the trial.
He also ignored prosecution’s plea to disband the entire panel and ordered the remaining twelve jurors to sit on the case, because, according to him, the letter that is the basis of the allegation did not reach them.
However, in her order, Justice Wolokollie instructed Parker and Paelay to appear before her on February 29.
They are expected to show reason why the prosecution’s request should not be granted. Judge Dixon was also directed to submit the full and complete copy of the proceedings of the case with certificate under the seal of court.
In Judge Dixon’s ruling, he said he removed one of the three jurors, Kissi Kamara, on grounds that his mother Janneh Kamara was the person currently cooking for the jury.
Madam Kamara was also implicated in the jury tampering allegation, but Judge Dixon chose to remove only her son from the panel.
Prosecution further complained that the letter bearing the names of two of the three jurors (Kollie and Neowen) and another without name were seized from Bailiffs Bendu Dukuly and Roland Nyankun, assigned with the sequestrated jurors.
During the investigation the bailiffs alleged that one Peter Wisdom Fayiah, believed to be the assistant manager of the Jury Management Team, was the person who gave the letter to them to have it delivered to the panel.
But, prosecution alleged that Judge Dixon penalized the two bailiffs who testified exposing the degree of jury tampering by fining each of them US$100.
“He also ordered that they must be removed from serving and he replaced them with other bailiffs,” the prosecution’s letter added.
For Fayiah, the document said, Judge Dixon failed to take any action against him. Even when they asked him to allow them to look at the personnel list of employees of the Temple of Justice to verify whether the signature that was on the back of the letter resembled that of Fayiah, they claimed Judge Dixon denied their request.
Judge Dixon and the defendants are yet to file their responses to the prosecution’s claim.
Meanwhile, Chief Justice Francis Korkpor has with immediate effect suspended the two Bailiffs (Dukuly and Nyankun) and promised to launch full scale administrative investigation to establish the fact about their involvement in the jury tampering allegation.
Chief Justice Korkpor also suspended Mr. Fayiah and Madam Kollie and also assured a full scale administrative investigation of their involvement in the jury tempering.