Matilda Parker’s Lawyer Claims She Followed EJS Directive, Wants Case Dismissed
Monrovia – Cllr. Arthur Johnson, the lead lawyer representing the indicted former Managing Director of the National Port Authority (NPA) Matilda Parker and Comptroller Christiana Paelay, is requesting the dismissal of the indictment against his clients.
Report by Kennedy L. Yangian, [email protected]
Johnson made the request in a motion filed to the court on Monday, September 17, a day before the start of the much-publicized economic sabotage case.
The pair was indicted in 2015 by the state through the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) on charges of economic sabotage, theft of property and criminal conspiracy. The two defendants have however pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The Special Grand Jury of Montserrado County accused the defendants between the period of July 2011 and December 2012 while serving in their respective positions at the NPA, made fraudulent payments from the accounts of the NPA to a bogus company, Denmar Enterprise Inc.
The firm was allegedly hired to remove wrecks from the Port of Greenville in Sinoe County.
The payments, the grand jury revealed, was done without the approval of the Public Procurement and Concession Commission and that of the Liberia Maritime Authority (LMA) since the work was maritime-oriented.
“The action of the defendants is in flagrant violation of Chapter 16, sub-chapter “F” Sections 15.80 a, b, c of the New Penal Law of the Republic of Liberia,” said the grand jury, who also claimed that despite all of the payments made by the defendants to the firm no work was done but reports were submitted by the defendants.
On Tuesday, in his motion to dismiss the indictment against his clients, Cllr. Johnson told the court that Matilda Parker in her capacity as managing director was personally formally and specifically instructed by then President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf with urgency to take such action as is necessary to expedite the removal of wrecks and dredging of the port of Greenville.
The defense lawyer also said his client was instructed by the former president to terminate present arrangements and enter more viable alternative arrangements.
“Matilda Parker, while in the discharged of her duty at the NPA received strict instructions in a letter addressed to her from President Sirleaf on June 7, 2011 to address what the president termed as several NPA issues,” he said.
According to Cllr. Johnson, the NPA holds a single source letter (Emergency Waiver) for port security projects from the PPCC – for this letter was dated on March 3, 2009 and signed by the late Keith Jubah.
He said NPA was not only represented by the managing director and the comptroller but also by its Board through the signature of the Vice Chairman Morris Dukuly since the Board Chairman had travelled out of the country.
At the start of the case, Cllr. Johnson informed the court of the filing of his motion but prosecution lawyer and Solicitor General Cllr. Daku Mulbah told the court that the prosecution received the motion copy late Monday night at 7:04 pm, a non-working hour. He, therefore, wanted time to file his response to the motion.
Presiding Judge Boima Kontoe denied the request of Cllr. Johnson to hear the motion on Tuesday but rather ruled that the case is rescheduled for Thursday, September 19, at the hour of 9:00 am for argument into the motion.