After two consecutive postponements, suspended National Port Authority (NPA) Managing Director, Matilda Parker and Comptroller, Christiana Kpabar Paelay, appeared before Criminal Court ‘C’ yesterday, and pleaded “not guilty” to a dazing 39 charges brought against them by the government.
Parker together with co-defendants Paelay, Deneah M. Flomo and his Denmar Enterprise are accused of stealing US$800,000 from the NPA for which they were charged with economic sabotage, criminal conspiracy and theft of property, among others.
Parker and Paelay were said to have connived with Flomo and his company for the removal of wrecks from the ports of Greenville, Sinoe County, and the provision of security consultancy at the ports of Monrovia, Buchanan, and Greenville, that caused the state to lose U$800,000, (the respective price tags of US$500,000 and US$300,000 per contract).
Wearing a green and yellow lappah suit, Parker and her Comptroller who was dressed in white, stood for over an hour yesterday listening attentively as the clerk of court read all 39 charges which contained evidences gathered by the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC).
They first responded to the clerk’s question on whether they were guilty or not and they together answered faintly, “We are not guilty.”
They were then asked by Judge Blamo Dixon to answer louder so that the packed courtroom could hear their responses, which they did.
Cllr. Daku Mulbah, who is also the County Attorney for Montserrado, asked for the case to be heard by a jury, a request the defense endorsed.
After their concurrence, Judge Dixon asked his clerk to communicate with the Court Administrator of the Supreme Court to make every necessary preparation to have the jurors empaneled and sequestered to ensure a smooth, impartial conduct of the process.
Judge Dixon, however, postponed hearing into the matter to December 8, at which time they would have started the selection of the jury panel.
Meanwhile, Judge Dixon yesterday ordered the arrest of co-defendant Deneah M. Flomo and his Denmar Enterprise to bring them under the jurisdiction of the court.
Defendant Flomo has failed to appear before the court, even without justifiable cause.