Liberia: Human Rights Commission Sued for US$125K Unpaid Rent

 Cllr. Dempster Brown,  Chairman, of the Independent National Commission on Human Rights (INCHR)

The Independent National Commission of Human Rights (INCHR) has been taken to the Debt Court by two of its landlords, Mamud Jalloh and Abdoul Barry for US$125,000 rental arrears.

The INCHR is tasked with monitoring and investigating, documenting, and reporting on alleged human rights abuses/violations in Liberia, producing incidence or thematic reports, as well as producing quarterly and annual reports on the general situation of human rights in Liberia.

But now, the INCHR is allegedly unable to pay its rental arrears and has been dragged to court along with 

Mary Broh, Director General of the General Services Agency (GSA), and the Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Samuel D. Tweah, as co-defendants.

Jalloh’s and Barry’s lawsuit seeks to recover an outstanding rental debt of US$125,000 and 6 percent interest on grounds that they were not paid on time as per the agreement. The property in question is being used by the INCHR as their head office.

The suit also sought the court’s approval to order the defendants to pay the indebtedness, in the amount of US$125,000, “and to order that the defendants pay the plaintiffs’ attorney fees and order expenses incurred by them for litigating the case.”

The defendants are yet to respond to the litigation.  In the June 13 lawsuit, Jalloh and Barry disclosed that after the renewal of the lease agreement with INCHR from January 1 to December 31, 2022, they have not been paid and the defendants have refused to comply with the rental contract.

“Since the defendants gained entry or entered into the property, they have failed and neglected to pay plaintiffs’ rental obligation entered into between them," the suit noted. “Up to date, the total amount owed the plaintiffs is up to US$125,000, and all the demands — both oral and written — made by the plaintiffs to have them pay the money owed them have proven futile. 

“The plaintiffs have, therefore, elected to take refuge under this court for legal remedy, that is to say, for this court to help the plaintiffs by collecting said money from the defendants plus 6 percent of the said amount as required by law,” the lawsuit added.

“Given an unabated nonperformance posture exhibited over the years by the defendants, the plaintiffs request the court to order the defendant to pay all of the outstanding rental owed the plaintiffs.

The suit further asked the court to make sure the defendants leave their property to avoid the inconveniences imposed on them by the action of the defendant, due to noncompliance with rental payment as per the contractual provision entered into with them.

“They are depriving us of our basic needs to sustain us and our families,” the suit noted. The plaintiffs said they have made all efforts to have the defendants settle their indebtedness to them through peaceful means, which have failed. Therefore, they are left with no further option,  but to seek the assistance of the court to judicially compel the defendants to settle their indebtedness to the plaintiffs.