By Grace Q. Bryant
The trial jurors at Criminal Court “C” at the Temple of Justice have brought down a hung verdict in the case involving several former officials of the Liberia Red Cross Society.
According to research, a hung jury, also called a deadlocked jury, is a judicial jury that cannot agree upon a verdict after extended deliberation and is unable to reach the required unanimity or supermajority.
It can be recalled that in 2019 Criminal Court C presided over by Judge Peter Gbeneweleh, several former employees of the Liberia Red Cross Society were arrested for allegedly violating the PPCC Act and PFM Law of 2009.
The jurors voted eight guilty verdicts and four non-guilty, in the charges against the defendants.
The crimes include theft of property, economic sabotage, misuse of public money and property of record, fraud on the internal revenue of Liberia and theft or illegal disbursement and expenditure of public money, misapplication or entrusted property, and criminal conspiracy.
The defendants were indicted by the grand jurors of Montserrado County.
Those arrested are Koboi Wolokollie, former Procurement Supervisor; Emmanuel O. Kparh, former president of the institution, and others to be identified, who are currently behind bars at the Monrovia Central Prison, pending a court trial.
The defendants were indicted based on a complaint received by the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission from a whistle–blower, alleging acts of corruption involving some officials of the institution.
The complaint alleged that the LNRS executives oversaw procurement activities of the entity by awarding contract to M2 Logistics, valued at US$820,825 for supply of hygienic materials during the Ebola crisis in 2014.
They also awarded the Highway construction and Maintenance company a contract valued at USD$48,202 to renovate the Liberia Red Cross Society building complex.
The indictment, a copy of which is in the position of this Paper, further alleged that defendant Emmanuel O. Kparh, former president of the institution, requested and received several payments, some of which include US$20,000, to Grand Gedeh and Sinoe Counties, and two million dollars to lobby with the National Legislature to increase the LNRCS budget.
The indictment further revealed that the money in question was provided by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red crescent Societies based in Geneva, Switzerland, to enable the Liberia Red Cross combat the Ebola virus disease in Liberia, as well as government subsidy to the entity.
Meanwhile, Judge Blamo Dixon has declared a new trial, with the selection of a new panel of jurors to sit on the case.
Court Orders New Trial In Red Cross Case
By Grace Q. Bryant