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Delay To Pay Haddad’s 10.7m Debt

 

Delay To Pay Haddad’s 10.7m Debt

Civil Society To Sue Ellen For Encumbrance

…As Interest On Debt Increases To US$36m

With President George Manneh Weah’s recent call for zero tolerance on corruption, many civil society organizations and other state actors are considering a court action against former Liberian leader, Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf for the economic difficulty she has plunged this new administration and the country into as a result of her deliberate failure to make payment of US$10.7m owed businessman George Haddad for vehicles and spare parts supplied the government between 2003- 2008.

The debt grew out of a contractual agreement entered into between the then interim government of Chairman Gyude Bryant (late) and the Prestige and Alliance Motors Corporation to supply  vehicles and spare parts including cost of maintenance to the administration and since then, President Johnson-Sirleaf have consistently refused to pay the amount  even though, her government admitted owing the money.

The Alliance and Prestige Motors are dealers in American and German vehicles and also importers representatives in Monrovia, who had filed a lawsuit against the government for allegedly failing to pay for vehicles and spare parts, supplied the government between 2003 and 2008.

The lawsuit first filed in 2014 was heard at the Commercial Court in 2015 where state prosecutors filed a motion questioning the legal authority of the court over the matter; because according to them, the court was only established in 2011.

However, lawyers representing the two companies took exception to the motion pointing out that though the Commercial Court was established in 2011 by the Act of National Legislature as a specialized court to hear cases arising out of commercial transactions, it was not important when the transactions took place.

Accordingly, the lawyers further noted that the US$10.7m owed the two companies for the supply of vehicles and spare parts including maintenance cost has since accumulated nearly US$36m interest  owing to former President Johnson-Sirleaf’ alleged unwillingness to underwrite the  payment of this debt since the last 10-11 years.

The trial into this debt case which began at the Commercial Court since 2015, have suffered many delays owing to the fact that the Commercial Court Judge, Cllr. Eva Mappy-Morgan have on many occasions demonstrated a non-compliant posture every time the case is scheduled for trial, which by extension, had been the major barrier to the final resolution of the matter.

More than that, lawyers representing the interest of the past administration have also been stalling the case due to their unnecessary excuses to be present in   court every time the case is assigned thus, exacerbating the many delays to bring the matter to a logical conclusion.

However, the lawsuit planned by these Liberians according to political observers, has come on the heels when the International Monetary Fund (IMF)  assisted the former government under its Extended Credit Facility (ECF) mechanism with yet another US$20.7m to underwrite the payment of all domestic debts particularly the money owed the Lebanese businessman.

Meanwhile, it has been reliably learnt that US$14m of the money extended to the past government by the IMF under its ECF program have been allegedly infused into the operation of the GBK Motors by Madam Johnson-Sirleaf where it is believed the Sirleaf dynasty has a fabulous stake.

Accordingly, the political observers are appealing to President Weah to immediately set up a committee to investigate the circumstances leading to the alleged disbursement of the IMF funds intended for domestic debts’ payment to GBK in order to ‘wean off’ the usual political chicanery of the former Liberian leader, Madam Sirleaf.

MONROVIA: Lawyers representing the interest of the government of Liberia in the case Haddad vs. GOL for a US$10.7m debt owed the businessman, have resorted to what many has referred to, as unnecessary delay tactics to buy time in the ongoing case.

State prosecutor, Cllr. Augustine C. Fayia in open court, Tuesday, November 21, 2017 pleaded with the Commercial Court Judge, Cllr. Eva Mappy-Morgan for continuance of the matter to enable state lawyers review the case and also consult with the relevant authorities including the Minister of Finance and Development Planning.

The Presiding Judge, Cllr. Mappy-Morgan rejected the plea to suspend the case but following consultations with the parties in chambers, an understanding was however reached at which time, she reassigned the case to December 1, 2017 and advised all party litigants to take due note of the new assignment for the hearing.

Earlier, lawyers representing the Alliance and Prestige Motors owned by the Lebanese businessmen, George Haddad strongly opposed the motion to suspend the case and noted that it was intended to stall the trial.

“The unnecessary request by state prosecutors to stall the trial was only intended to frustrate, circumvent and hijack the justice system; and the court should deny the motion in keeping with the law,” Cllr. Moses Paegar, lead lawyer for Alliance and Prestige Motors pointed out.

The Alliance and Prestige Motors are dealers in American and German vehicles and also importers representatives in Monrovia, who had filed a lawsuit against the government for allegedly failing to pay for vehicles and spare parts, supplied the government between 2003 and 2008.

The lawsuit first filed in 2014 was heard at the Commercial Court in 2015 where state prosecutors filed a motion questioning the legal authority of the court over the matter; because according to them, the court was only established in 2011.

However, lawyers representing the two companies took exception to the motion pointing out that though the Commercial Court was established in 2011 by the Act of National Legislature as a specialized court to hear cases arising out of commercial transactions, it was not important when the transactions took place.

Accordingly, the lawyers further noted that the US$10.7m owed the two companies for the supply of vehicles and spare parts including maintenance cost has since accumulated huge interest owing to the Unity Party-led government under President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’ alleged unwillingness to underwrite the  payment of this debt in the last 10-11 years.

Additionally, the lawyers argued that the Johnson-Sirleaf administration has not denied the debt claim by the two companies but accused the Liberian leader of stalling the case apparently as a clever attempt to shift the burden on the incoming administration.

The lawsuit, according to political observers has come on the heels when the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have assisted the Liberian government under its Extended Credit Facility (ECF) mechanism with yet another US$20.7m to underwrite the payment of all domestic debts incurred by the current administration; writes, Alfred Sebah

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