-As Judge Rejects Lawyer’s Motion To Dismiss Indictment
By R. Joyclyn Wea
The Judge of Criminal Court “C” has rejected movant defendants Matilda Parker, Suspended Managing Director of the National Port Authority (NPA), and Christina Kpabar-Paelay, Suspended Comptroller of the National Port Authority (NPA), motion to dismiss indictment filed with the court through their counselor, Cllr. Arthur Johnson.
The judge’s verdict denying the defendant counsel’s motion to dismiss the indictment followed heated argument by both lawyers in these legal proceedings on Thursday, September 21, 2018 at the Criminal Court “C” on the grounds of the Temple of Justice.
The court in its opinion setup today, September 27, 2018 to kick start hearing into the matter before it.
The former NPA Managing Director Matilda Parker and her comptroller Christina Kpabar-Paelay were suspended in 2016 by Ex-president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and subsequently indicted by government for Theft of Property, Economic Sabotage, and Criminal Conspiracy amongst other things.
This case was called for re-trial at the start of the September 2018 term of court upon mandate of the Honorable Supreme Court of Liberia; in which defendant counsel, Cllr. Johnson filed a twenty-five-count motion to dismiss the indictment against his clients Parker and Paelay.
In the twenty-five counts motion, Cllr. Johnson explained that under the Constitution of the Republic of Liberia, the President of Liberia, who is the Head of State, Head of Government, Commander –In –Chief of the Armed Forces of Liberia cannot appear in Court to make any legal representation while serving as President of Liberia or his/her Agents.
He further stated that said Executive Immunity that is accorded the President of Liberia extends to any person who acts, or acted under the authority of the President’s decision thereby considered as agent of the President.
“Movants ask Court to take Judicial Notice of the Constitution of Liberia, Chapter VI, Article 61; Wiles versus Simpson  LRSC 24; 8 LLR 362 (1944) (17 November 1944) JAMES S. WILES, Appellant, v. C. L. SIMPSON, Secretary of State of Liberia, Appellee. Appeal from the Chambers of Mr. Justice Russell; Argued October 18, 20, 1944. Decided November 17, 1944: “It is only when acting as the agent of the President in a matter in which discretion is by the Constitution or by law lodged in the President, and in him alone, that the Secretary of State and other cabinet officers are not subject to the ordinary process of the courts.”
Johnson emphasized that Co-Movant, Matilda Parker in her capacity as Managing Director for the NPA was personally, formally, and specifically instructed by the President of Liberia Madam 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, including the termination of present arrangements and entering more viable alternative arrangement, as necessary.
Movants further say that during the implementation of the President’s Instructions, pursuant to that specific mandate , several other meetings and discussions were held during which instructions were given directly to Movant; some of which are confidential and cannot be disclosed because of presidential immunity , and they are even above Attorney-Client Privilege which Counsels for Movants advice Movants not disclose to the Movants’ Legal Team and cannot be revealed in open Court or demanded by Court processes because they are privileged.
That the Co- Movant/Co-Defendant in person of Madam Matilda Parker, Suspended Managing Director of the National Port (NPA) operates under the Board of Directors of the NPA which Board of Directors reports to the President of Liberia.
Movants further mentioned that under the Act, the President may assign certain functions to the Co-Movant, Matilda Parker while serving as Managing Director of the NPA and under such condition reports to the President directly therefore, the Co-Movant was operating as Agent of the President and is covered by Executive Immunity at the time she was given a specific instruction by the President Johnson-Sirleaf.
Movants say that the Co-Movant/Co-Defendant, Madam Matilda Parker while in the discharge of her duty at the National Port Authority (NPA) received direct and strict instructions in a Letter addressed to her from the President of the Republic of Liberia, Madam Johnson-Sirleaf on June 7, 2011 to address what the President termed as “Several NPA Issues” which came to her attention “that needed urgent attention”.
In the President’s instructions, the issues included the following: I) “Conclusion of MOU with Golden Veroleum on Use of Port of Greenville; ii) Continuation of Warehousing facilities for LAC at Buchanan Port; and iii) taking such action as is necessary to expedite the removal of sunken vessel and dredging the port of Greenville, including the termination of present arrangements and entering more viable alternative arrangement, as necessary. In resisting the defendants’ motion, prosecution noted that said “Executive Immunity” does not apply to any agents or workers of the president.
They argued that the president by than uses same Executive Immunity to suspend madam parker and her controller Paelay and subjected them to criminal investigation.
One of counsels for the states mentioned that take away such Executive Immunity from the defendants by subjecting them to criminal investigation and by extension they no longer enjoy such Immunity as claimed by Cllr. Johnson.
Meanwhile, Cllr. Johnson announced his exception to the judge ruling and promises to make use of the statue of law.