A 12-man jury panel has suspended verdict in the US$1.8 million dollar fraud claims levied by the Liberia Coca-Cola Bottling Company (LCCBC) against four of its former senior employees.
Criminal Court "C" at the Temple of Justice has for the past three months been prosecuting LCCBC's former Accounts Manager George Paye, Sam Oyee, former Sales Supervisor Tonia Kpadeh, former Sales Coordinator and Emmanuel Tyler, former Settlement Accountant for alleged misapplication of entrusted property, criminal facilitation and conspiracy.
At the Court yesterday, nine of the twelve jurors signed a guilty verdict against the defendants, while three declined.
Justifying their disagreements over the guilty verdict, two of the opposing jurors claimed that state evidence failed to convince them, while the third argued that defense witness Anthony Sartee, who was accused by the state of been on the run, appeared in court during the trial, contrary to prosecution's claims.
Notwithstanding, Judge Blamo Dixon ruled that he will award a new trial before a new set of jurors, and discharged the jurors with thanks. During his charge to the jury, Judge Dixon criticized the defendants' inability to prepare a fitting report for submission to top management to account for goods brought to Liberia.
Judge Dixon wondered whether this is how young Liberians will want to take over the country through their much publicized "Generational Change."
The judge argued that anything coming out Ghana is perceived to be good, but on the contrary, principal defendant George Paye who obtained degrees in accounting from Ghana could not account for containers sent to Liberia as an accountant.
"The people say once you are from Ghana you got to be good; Even Jesus Christ Himself is from Ghana. George Paye got his accounting degrees from Ghana, but could not prepare a report," said judge Dixon.
However, defendant Paye announced his preparedness outside of court for further trial at any level. He claimed innocence of the fraud claims levied by LCCBC, terming the trial as a witch hunt.