Matilda Parker’s Trial Begins After Christmas Break

MONROVIA—The trial of two former officials of National Port Authority (NPA) former Managing Director Matilda Parker and Comptroller Christina Paelay continues Monday after a week break due to the Christmas season. Presiding Judge Blamo Dixon told parties that the case will be suspended due to the Christmas season to resume Tuesday December 29, 2015. Judge Blamo also stated that after the Tuesday, December 29, 2015 hearing the case will be adjourned for the New Year break to resume on January 5th 2015.

“Let me inform you that this case will be adjourned because of the Christmas season for me to have time to concentrate” said Judge Dixon. The trial will continue on Tuesday with the prosecution first witness Blamo Koffa who has been on the witness stand taking the stand once again. Both Parker and Paelay were indicted on three-count charges, of theft of property, economic sabotage and criminal conspiracy.

The pair indictment issued in May 2015 stemmed from allegedly awarding contract to dredge and provide security consultancy for the port of Greenville in Sinoe County to a contracting firm-Deaneh Flomo and the Denwar Enterprises in the amount of over US$800,000.00 The court indictment furthered that one of the contracts to dredge the Sinoe Port of wreck worth US$500,000.00 while the other for consultancy also worth US$300,000.00

Witness Koffa who is Chief Investigator at the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) in his general testimony told the court and jury that the two National Port Authority (NPA) awarded two contracts but the work for the contracts were never performed. Witness Koffa who told the court and jury that he supervises all investigations at the LACC indicated that the LACC investigation has established that payments were made by the two former NPA officials but no work was done in the process.

“The LACC investigation established that the company hired to dredge the port had no security knowledge and the other was registered as an entity established to sell stationery” said witness Koffa when asked by the prosecution what did the LACC investigation established against the two defendants. He also continued that the two former officials awarded the contract without any bidding process as required by the Public Procurement and Concession Commission (PPCC) law. According to the prosecution first witness when the two former NPA officials were contacted they admitted that the companies in question were capable of performing the contracts.

Again the witness told the court that the two officials when confronted about awarding the contract against the PPCC law they claimed that the NPA had a waiver at the time which requires the NPA to award contract without applying the PPCC law. On the question of the PPCC law the witness stated that the LACC investigation realized that the NPA was not granted waiver but rather the waiver was issued to the Liberia Maritime Authority (LMA) at the time of the arrival of the US Navy ship to Liberia.

However, both Parker and Paelay who have earlier denied the charges against them will take the witness stand to testify on their own behalf where they are expected to address themselves to the LACC chief investigator claims. kennedy Yangian, FPA

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