By Betty k Johnson
MONROVIA, FPA—The second Prosecution witness in the ongoing trial involving former National Port Authority Managing Director and Comptroller has told the court that he did not render any service to the port but was given US$125,000 cheque by the comptroller Christiana Kpabar-Paelay to be cashed. Mr. Deneah Flomo, who was also indicted along with the two, was nolle prosequoi to serve as a witness for prosecution against his accomplices. On the stand, the Prosecution witness said he went to the port and met a staff of the comptroller office identified as Lawrence Dahn who brought an invoice and a cheque of US$125,000 in his name. He said he was told by Dahn to cash the cheque based on a request from the comptroller.
Defendants Matilda Wokie Parker and Christiana Kpabar-Paelay are currently indicted on criminal charges, including Economic Sabotage, Theft of Property and criminal conspiracy among others. Flomo said that upon the encashment of the cheque, he hand delivered the cash to the comptroller’s office and she gave him US$1,000 as a token of appreciation.
He added that although he cashed the cheque, there was no service rendered but was only told by the comptroller that she will give him a contract to supply stationery to the NPA. The witness said prior to the cheque encashment, he was introduced to defendant Parker who, he said, brought some documents to be signed by him.
“Before I cashed the cheque, the comptroller introduced me to Miss Matilda Parker who brought some documents in order to for me to sign. And I asked her what was the purpose for these documents and if I could read through them, at which time she said that I should just sign, that I will get to know later; and the pages were opened, she pointed finger to where my name was typed and I signed them,” he testified.
Flomo continued: “From that time on, I have never met Ms. Parker, only the comptroller and myself were interacting. So the US$125,000 was cashed and the comptroller gave me $1000 USD as a thank you and she told me Dahn will give you a call.” A high school graduate of the Free Pentecostal School and a petroleum dealer, he said he got to know defendant Parker via defendant Paelay and got to know defendant Paelay through a man from the port who introduced her to him.
He said that he got introduced to defendant Paelay because he was seeking a contract to do stationery supply. According to him, during the introduction Mrs. Paelay asked if he was capable of supplying the NPA with stationery and he replied in the affirmative. “She told me to go ahead to pre-finance the supply, which I did and that supply worth $3,000 USD.”
“After the supply, I was called two days later to receive my payment, but to my surprise, I saw an invoice of US$250,000 with a fellow by the name of Lawrence Dahn who told me to sign the invoice and a cheque was made in my name to be cashed at Ecobank. Dahn, Paelay and myself went at Ecobank branch at Vai Town and I hand delivered it to her and she give me US$3,000 for the stationery supply and she said when she needed me she would call me,” Flomo’s testified.
He added that apart from the three payments he also received other payments. “I did receive some cheques which I do not know how much it amounted to. But I recalled there was some US$49,950.00 some $36,000, $18,000 and all these amounts were cashed by me and the cash delivered to the comptroller.” Flomo said that at no time was a copy of the documents given to him, adding that those documents were seen by him when he reported himself to the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission. “That is when I got to know that these documents that I signed in Ms. Parker’s office were documents containing a contract of wreck removal between the NPA and myself and I also saw a contract between the NPA and myself consisting of a security firm.”
“The signatures on the documents are my signatures but it was done unknowingly, but I told the LACC that during the investigation that I never had a wreck engineer or did not have a security firm. I did not have the technical know-how of being a wreck engineer,” said the Prosecution witness. He added that prior to his appearance at the LACC, he received a call from Lawrence Dahn who handed the phone to defendant Paelay who told him that the LACC was in search of him ordering him to leave Monrovia and go up country.
“Journalists were also in search of me to have me interviewed on the matter, and I should change my present GSM number which I did and I got a new GSM number so, during this period, I only interacted with Dahn who came to my house to inform me about the situation that was unfolding,” said Flomo. He told the court and jury that he was involved in petroleum and stationeries business upon which he was promised by defendant Paelay that he would be given a stationery contract.
The Prosecution witness said that his company name is Deneah Martin Flomo Groups of companies, adding that he was asked by defendant Paelay if the company was registered. “I told her yes, and she requested that she wanted to register a different business, that was how Denmar enterprises was registered and the comptroller facilitated the registration which was US$500.00 and this is the Denmar enterprise that I saw at the LACC which is one of the contracts signed between the NPA and me.”
He revealed that he did not remove any wreck from the port of Greenville neither has he gone to the port of Greenville. The Prosecution 2nd witness said that he did not carry out any security consultancy that was required to undertake security related services at the port of Monrovia, Buchanan, Greenville and Harper. Witness Flomo testified to several documents presented to him by the Prosecution team which was later marked as evidence by the Judge Blamo Dixon.
The ongoing trial is expected to enter into the second term of Court as the examinations of the witnesses are prolonged. The case which started early November is currently in its third month as the second prosecution witness just took the stand. At the hearing, the judge ordered the sheriff/ bailiff to count the number of questions a day given to the witness.
Judge Dixon on Wednesday said the court’s attention was drawn to the Inquirer Newspaper headline captioned: “Many Jurors in Parker’s Case Sick” reported in Volume 21, number 249. He said the story is incorrect, adding that the reporter failed to contact the court for clarification neither did the Managing Editor who is a lawyer.
Judge Dixon said it was a communication from the juror Management who requested the court to seek medical attention.“The letter of the jurors was submitted to the jury management office and the court assured that the medical institution hired by the judiciary for jury medication will be contacted.” He continued: “the jurors in my opinion are not sick, but they want to seek medical examination to be on the safe side to continue the trial.”