Referee, Player In Parker US$800,000.00 Case – LACC’s Augustine Toe Linked

It has been reported in Monrovia that one of those pressing charges against the suspended National Port Authority Managing Director, Madam Matilda Parker and others for corruption has allegedly been linked to the case in question.

According to the Independent Newspaper, a lead Investigator at the Liberian Anti Corruption Commission (LACC), Cllr. Augustine Toe is believed to be linked to the US$800,000 case involving suspended Managing Director of the National Port Authority (NPA), Madam Matilda Parker and others.

According to documentary evidence which includes the Articles of Incorporation in the possession of this paper, the step-son of Cllr. Toe, Tonieh Freeman is a major shareholder in the Deneah Martin Flomo's (DMF) Group of companies that was also implicated in the ongoing court proceedings.

The document indicated that Tonieh, who is the step-son of Counselor Toe through his marriage to this fellow's mother, Mrs. Sarah Findley-Toe, owns 10% share in the DMF Group of Companies.

Sources close to the Ministry of Justice and even the LACC have confided that Tonieh who happens to be part and parcel of the company has neither been arrested nor investigated by the LACC or the government which, according to many observers, is not only a travesty of justice but a medley of treachery and hypocrisy encompassing the country's justice system.

Our sources also added that the Solicitor General of the Republic of Liberia, Cllr. Betty Lamin-Blamo is the god-mother of Tonieh and therefore, legal experts have asked SG Lamin-Blamo to recuse herself from the ongoing case against suspended NPA Managing Director and others in order to allow justice to prevail without any bias.

A legal analyst who spoke to this paper on condition of anonymity said, if it is true that Cllr. Toe was part of the investigating team that investigated Madam Parker and others, which culminated into their indictment in the US$800,000 Wrecks Removal contract at the Port of Greenville, Sinoe County, he noted that his colleague (Toe) should have exercised a veneer of legal prudence by calling in, his step-son also for investigation.

He further indicated that the learned lawyer who once served as the Executive Director of the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission (JPC), and once described public officials of the Ellen-led as “Come Grab And Go Officials,” consigned his legal ethics on the threshold of family connection to jeopardize the current case of alleged economic sabotage, theft of property and criminal conspiracy levied against Suspended MD Parker, Comptroller, Christina Kpabar Paelay and Deneah Flomo of the DMF Group of Companies.

He added that the failure of the LACC investigating team to have investigated Tonieh in furtherance of enhancing justice and the due process of law, he maintained that there still remain some legal rudiments such as the conflict of interest on the part of Cllr. Toe to be addressed before the preponderance of evidence could be obtained in the case, Republic of Liberia versus Ms. Matilda Parker and others.

The legal analyst continuing his argument had this to say: “In furtherance of obtaining a prima facie in the ongoing case in order to enhance fair justice and transparency, Cllr. Toe and former Pro-tempore of the Liberian Senate, Gbenzohngar Findley should be subpoenaed to appear before the presiding judge to  provide sufficient information in open court on their relationship with Tonieh Freeman who is believed to be a shareholder in the DMF Group of Companies which is also implicated in the court case,” he further stated.

Pundits also have said that as a matter of mitigating undue apprehension in the Matilda Parker and others' case, in so far as Cllr. Toe and Findley are reportedly shying away from the truth, they are of the strong conviction that justice will be compromised in favor of the government in as much as the lead investigator at the LACC has direct connection with one of the shareholders in the company also implicated in the ongoing case.

They added that politics is increasingly creeping into the justice system especially in this suspended NPA Managing Director's case where the recent US$1.2m criminal appearance bond filed by the Family Dollar Universal Insurance Service on behalf of its clients (Parker and Others) was downgraded by Solicitor-General, Cllr. Betty Lamin-Blamo, terming it invalid.

In her argument, Madam Lamin-Blamo said that any insurance company standing as surety of a defendant must have evidence of assets commensurate with the amount charged in the writ of arrest or in the indictment.

Cllr. Blamo contended that the company has not shown any evidence or any legal authority that it possesses assets within the Republic of Liberia sufficient enough to cover the obligation being undertaken.

But contrary to her argument, the Revised Liberian Code of Laws, Vol. 1 Section 13.2 titled Amount of Bail clearly states that: “The amount of bail in any criminal action in which restitution is required shall be equal to the amount of the maximum fine which may be imposed upon conviction of the offense charged.

If the offense charged is punishable by imprisonment, the maximum number of months of imprisonment which may be imposed shall be multiplied by twenty-five dollars to determine the amount of bail.

If the offense charged is punishable by both fine and imprisonment, the amount of bail shall be equal to the total of such amounts.”

With the legal clarity proffered, observers have opined that the bond was not only excessive and politically motivated but it smacks the undercurrent of seeing Matilda Parker and her Comptroller going to prison in the case which does not warrant the posting of US$1.2m bond just to appear before the court any time they are needed.

Meanwhile, all attempts to contact the Public Relations Officer at the LACC, Ben Kolako did not materialize as his phone rang endlessly without any response. Investigation continues.

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