Gov’t Suffers Setback in US$10.7M Vehicle Debt Case

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2065
L-R: Judge Eva Mappy Morgan and George Haddad, who is seeking a US$10.7M judgement against government.

State lawyers yesterday failed to persuade the Commercial Court to postpone a hearing in the US$10.7 million lawsuit Prestige Motors and Alliance Motors brought against the government.

Assistant Justice Minister for Litigation, Cllr. Augustine Fayiah, had sought the court’s endorsement to have the matter postponed to enable him to study the file and consult with other lawyers assigned to the case.

Meanwhile, until yesterday, the matter had been with the court for three years.

Cllr. Fayiah’s request comes just a week after the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved US$20.7 million for the government of Liberia to offset some of its domestic financial obligations.

The request also comes two months to the end of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s administration, and the government is expected to use the money to pay back companies it is indebted to.

Denying government’s request, Chief Judge Eva Mappy Morgan said the court issued an assignment on November 17 scheduling the hearing for yesterday, November 21.

“The lawyers received and signed the assignment agreeing for the hearing. If for any reason there was any problem, they would have had enough time to notify the court,” Judge Morgan said.

“Since that did not happen until now, the lawyer’s request is hereby denied, and the matter will proceed for trial.”

The chief judge ordered Cllr. Fayiah to ensure that both the ministries of Justice and Finance and Development Planning appear for the hearing on Friday, December 1.

Before denying government’s request, Prestige and Alliance Motors’ lead lawyer, Cllr. G. Moses Paegar argued that Cllr. Fayiah’s attitude was a deliberate tactic employed by the government to defeat and frustrate the company’s quest for justice in the matter.

Paegar also asked the court to deny the application, a request which was accepted.

“Since 2015, Fayiah alone has been signing documents as the only lawyer in this case; and now to say that he wants to consult with his other lawyers assigned to the matter, is a very bad precedent,” Paegar said.

Besides, Paegar argued that Fayiah singlehandedly signed a motion requesting the court to dismiss the case on grounds that it lacked jurisdiction to hear the matter.

“Fayiah argued that the court was established in 2010, which means it does not give it any legal ground to hear and decide cases prior to its establishment,” Paegar argued.

Prestige Motors and Alliance Motors earlier alleged that the government was indebted to them in the amount of US$10.7 million for vehicles and spare parts they supplied state actors from 2003 to March 2008, for which they are yet to receive any payment; a situation they are asking the court to enforce.

The companies are owned by Lebanese businessman George Haddad.

The case continues.

Author

  • Anthony Kokoi is a young Liberian sports writer who has an ever-growing passion for the development of the game of football (soccer) and other sports. For the past few years, he has been passionately engaged in reporting the developments of the game in the country. He is an associate member of the Sports Writers Association of Liberia (SWAL). He is a promoter of young talents. He also writes match reports and makes an analysis of Liberian Football.

3 COMMENTS

  1. The international community cannot continue to bid out Liberia when Liberian government: past and present act recklessly in managing Liberia’s economy. Our government fails to lay out financial contingency plans in case of emergency or eventually like the Ebola crisis; like the 2008 financial slump: that will absorb financial shocks whenever there are domestic and international economic downturns.

    For so many years Liberia has experienced poor governance and total disregard for the rule of law that plunged Liberia into chaos and economic mismanagement. For so many years Liberia has experienced over-expenditures and little economic development due to excessive waste; due to poor planning; due to holding onto power at whatever cost; due to excessive borrowing and less domestic investment; during the Tubman, Tolbert, Doe, Interims, Taylor, and now, soon-to-end Sirleaf’s Government.

    Liberia will continue to be financially indebted to foreign nations if our leaders fail to put into practice sound monetary and sound economic policies that could reap healthy return on our investments. I don’t blame Mr. Haddad for trying to collect past dues before this government leaves.

    Our government, over so many years, knows how to lavish money on foreign travels and medical trips instead of generating money for domestic investment.

    Why not invest heavily in our institutions of learning; open up road networks; establish more water and power systems in Liberia; give out more small business loans to farmers and entrepreneurs; develop our health system; attract foreign investors for joint public/private partnership; increase public transit system both rail and land; focus heavily on export of domestically produced goods; encourage manufacturing of raw material; make Liberia attractive for foreign companies to invest; decentralize economic free zones; stabilize Liberia’s currency; amend Liberian draconian citizenship laws; give special tax breaks to Liberians in the Diaspora who bring legitimate businesses to Liberia; open up regional airports to speed up air travel around the country; last but not all, develop strong banking institutions to attract foreign banking institutions to deposit money in Liberia.

    When Liberia develops sound fiscal policies, in conjunction with sound economic policies, Liberia’s growth will increase exponentially thus causing less reliance on international benefactors to always recuse Liberia from itself.

  2. It’s not the responsibility of foreign governments to seek Liberia’s best interest when these countries have their own interests. Liberians need to abandon a corrupt and broken system of governance designed by politicians to steal and enrich themselves. With such a broken system in place, these undesirable results are inevitable. Liberia is not alone. In Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and elsewhere across Africa, there are routine elections sponsored by the “international community” that puts corrupt politicians in power in corrupt systems of governance to do what the Holy Bible calls the “works of the Devil” in St. John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” Across Africa, political violence, ritualistic killings, skyrocketing unemployment, illiteracy and diseases are killing the people! Still the people are programmed to keep crying, like the Zimbabweans for yet another new president to run the old corrupt system that empowers the politicians, not the people. There are alternative systems and people don’t have to remain stuck with corrupt systems designed by politicians. God’s designs such as the sun, oceans, gravity and rain are things we must live with, not corrupt system designed by politicians. We are people too and we must design alternatives, not live and die complaining ABOUT WHAT OTHERS HAVE DONE. Instead of noise, we must begin demanding a new system that fulfills the will of the people! This is what makes no sense! The words of the Holy Scriptures are crying out loud the solution to Africa’s problem: It’s time for systemic change! Matthew 12:33 “Either make the tree good, and its fruit good; or make the tree corrupt, and its fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by its fruit.”

  3. This is yet another classic example of the gross incompetence exhibited in every area of the Liberian government including at the University of Liberia, where the perennial problem of mere students registration has shackled that institution for years and still counting. I can’t even begin to fathom this other bone-headedness by the so-called lead counsel of the GOL. How could the MOJ sit supinely on this case for these number of years and when the case is called for trial before asking for “more time?” It makes you wonder, does the president read about this level of incompetence in her government? And such useless government employees feel proud and entitled to collecting pay checks at the end of every month? The presiding judge ought to charge this stupid government lawyer with contempt and fine him handsomely for wasting the court’s and other litigants’ time for this trifling request for more time. Bunch of useless and incompetent can’t even justify the free money government continues to waste on them every month. Shame on you Fayah and class of incompetent MOJ lawyers. Shame, shame, shame on you!

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