LIBERIA: LACC’s Chief Examiner Gives Conflicting Accounts In Parker, Paelay Trial

The Liberian Government lead Investigator and Chief Examiner of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) has given conflicting accounts during cross examination by defense lawyers in the economic sabotage, theft of property and criminal conspiracy case involving former National Port Authority (NPA) Managing Director Matilda W. Parker and Comptroller Mrs. Christina Kpabar Paelay currently ongoing at the Criminal Court “C”.

Mr. Blamo Koffa was exposed in court during the week when the defense lawyers discovered that during a cross examination of the LACC Chief Examiner and prosecution’s first witness, some conflicting accounts and statements made by him were observed in the presence of Judge Blamo Dixon.

During his cross examination, when he was asked during his investigation of the defendants, if he had a meeting with both defendants and Flomo, he responded in the presence of the jammed packed court and jury, “I did not have a meeting with Parker, Paelay and Flomo,” Mr. Koffa in a rather confused sense of mind told the court.

The LACC Investigator further told the court that the final reports of the LACC, which formed the basis for the indictment against the defendants, predates statements reportedly collected from several individual witnesses.

 The LACC final report is dated April 14, 2015, but it is based on statements and interviews, the anti-graft institution says, it gathered from several persons including one collected from Col. Ashford Peal of the Liberia Seaport Police (LSP) on May 22, 2015 and Mr. Nathaniel C. Gbarba July 22, 2015, respectively.

 Mr. Garba, a former NPA Deputy Managing Director for Operations and Col. Peal, analysts say, became bitter rivals of the defendants because they were either suspended, transferred and or dismissed by the former NPA Managing Director for alleged acts incompatible to the policies of the NPA.

 Credible sources at the NPA have observed that the testimony of some of the witnesses may not be based on facts, but prejudice due to the punishment meted against them by the former Managing Director for acts that found them wanting.

 Meanwhile, the prosecution witness admitted taking statements from the below witnesses after the publication and submission of the final LACC reports. They are: Sunny G. Wright on July 13, 2015; Jeffery George on May 28, 2015 and July 9, 2015; Patrick M. Konneh on July 10, 2015; Col. J. Togba Koffa on May 3, 2015; Otis V, Kah on July 15, 2015 and Mr. Emmanuel Z. Davies on July 10, 2015.

 The LACC lead investigator also admitted collecting voluntary statements from Mr. J. Daffa Wiles on July 13, 2015; Mr. Tom Kazouh on July 14, 2015 and Prince Jegbedai also on July 14. Mr. Koffa also told the court that the witnesses were not cooperating, but later backtracked on his statements when he disclosed during cross examination that all of the statements collected from the witnesses were voluntary.

“The witnesses gave voluntary statements,” said Mr. Koffa as he turned his face down in court. With the senior government witness flip flopping, the public is now beginning to wonder whether President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s decision to dismissed and order the prosecution of the defendants base on testimonies that were collected months after her decision is justified.

 President Ellen Johnson Sireaf, acting upon the LACC investigative report, first ordered the suspension of Madam Parker and Christina Paelay from NPA and dismissed the two officials seven months later to stand prosecution.

With huge doubts in the way of prosecution’s submission, some legal experts anonymously told our reporter that the state is heading for yet another bitter defeat.

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