Upset Judge Comfort S. Natt of the Labour Court for Montserrado County, at the Temple of Justice has held in contempt of court the Executive Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), Alloysius Tarlue, for failing to pay the amount of US$42,205 owned Nnadorie Ukanloa, an employee of the Global Trust Assurance, an insurance company, as a judicial settlement.
Governor Tarlue is expected to appear before the court on Thursday, February 20, to explain his continued failure, refusal and neglect to honor the enforcement of the Supreme Court’s mandate, which Judge Natt has been ordered to enforce the early default judgment against the Global Trust Assurance by the hearing officer of the Ministry of Labor.
In her contempt order, Judge Natt said, “Tarlue is to show cause if any why he should not be held in contempt of court for his failure, refusal and neglect to honor the enforcement of the Supreme Court judgment, mandate in which the court has been ordered to enforce against the CBL.”
If Tarlue fails to appear on Thursday, Judge Natt said, “it will leave the court with no alternative but to proceed according to the law,” meaning imprisonment.
The Central Bank Executive Governor got involved with the Global Trust and Assurance and Nnadorie Ukanloa lawsuit immediately after the CBL in 2018 placed five insurance companies that include Global Trust Assurance under its Provisional Administrative (PA), shortly after discovering that the company had gone bankrupt and subsequently revoked their license.
The CBL at that time said, they took the decision in preserving the business and assets of the companies and to protect the interest of the policyholders.
The move by the CBL is, accordingly, in keeping with the authority vested in the entity by the Insurance Act of 2013, and consistent with Sections 10.10 and 10.12. It followed an assessment by the bank of the capital positions of the five companies for the period ended March, 2018.
The assessments show that the companies have significant capital deficits and have consistently fallen below the capital requirements for licensed insurance companies since the first quarter of 2017.
The CBL assures the general public that the actions are in the best interest of the public and are aimed at promoting the safety and soundness of the insurance industry and the interests of the policyholders.
The case grew in 2014 when Nnadorie Ukanloa filed an “Unfair Labor Practice” lawsuit against Global Trust Assurance before the Ministry of Labor.
That matter went to the ministry shortly after the insurance company dismissed Ukanloa when he left the country to visit his family in Nigeria.
Unfortunately when the case was called by the hearing officer of the ministry, not a single representative of the Global Trust Assurance attended the proceedings, despite several notices for them to appear.
Against this backdrop, the hearing officer brought down a default judgment against the insurance company, wherein the ministry demanded that Global Trust Assurance should pay Nnadorie Ukanloa his just benefits of US$42,205.
In that default judgment, the insurance company broke down the payment as follows: US$4,500 for three months salary July to September 2014, at US$1,500, which the company withheld from Ukanloa.
The company is to also pay US$480 to Ukanloa as refund for air ticket for him to see his family in Nigeria in keeping with the contract which amount was deducted from his salary.
“US$900 as refund to Ukanloa for three months at US$300 per month, deducted from his salary and US$325 as one week accrued annual leave for one year and US$36,000, representing award for illegal dismissal,” the default judgment indicated.
That judgment was seriously resisted by the insurance company prompting them to seek redress at the National Labor Court to review the judgment of the ministry.
Surprisingly, Judge Natt confirmed the judgment of the ministry, which necessitated the insurance company to seek an appeal before the Supreme Court to mandate Judge Natt to enforce their decision, which the judge did by compelling the new Executive Governor of the CBL to pay Ukanloa, as the judicial settlement.
That the ruling entered by Judge Natt, confirming the ruling of the hearing officer adjudging the Global Trust Assurance liable for illegal dismissal being supported by the evidence adduced at the trial is hereby affirmed, “the Supreme Court mandate said, adding, “The Global Trust Assurance is hereby ordered to reinstate Ukanloa, forthwith and, therefore, compensate him the full amount of US$42,205.”