A Commercial Court at the Temple of Justice has threatened to shut down the office of Monrovia Consolidated School System (MCSS) if it fails to settle within 72 hours a US$131,154.50 debt it owes Benefit Trading International Incorporated (BTII), a Liberian owned Stationery Company.
The 72 hour ultimatum issued last Thursday expires today, Monday.
The court’s decision to compel MCSS to pay the debt was brought about by the school’s failure to uphold by the Commercial Court’s final judgment on August 27.
In that ruling, Judge Eva Mappy Morgan, Chief Judge of the court, declared that “MCSS having confessed responsibility to the BTII in the amount of US$131,154.90 is summarily adjourned liable in that amount.
“Taking cognizance of the law, the clerk is ordered to prepare the bill of cost for taxing of the lawyers and approval by the court on the amount confessed to by MCSS.
“The contested amount of US$21, 940 is hereby ruled to trial.”
Since that decision, MCSS has not complied with the ruling, prompting Judge Morgan to issue a 72 hour ultimatum against the school system last Thursday.
In a communication dated November 12, and addressed to Dr. James F. Kollie, Deputy Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) Minister for Fiscal Affairs, copy of which is with the Daily Observer, the court warned: “In consistence with the law, you are hereby ordered to remit 25 percent of the judgment sum totaling US$37,430.48 within 72 hours as consistent with law.”
The document further said “upon the failure of your ministry to comply with the order of this court, the MCSS, on whose behalf the said commitment was made, will be attached until full judgment sum is paid.”
Before the judgment, BTII filed an “Action of Debt” lawsuit against the MCSS arguing that “from 2011 up to 2014, it supplied the school with an assortment of furniture, stationery items, and school supplies.” The transactions took place under the previous and present administrations of the MCSS.
The record named Jerry B. Nyangbeh, Victoria W. Duncan and the current Benjamin Jacobs administrations respectively.
According to BTII, the actual debt amounted to US$153,094.92, of which the school claims that it only owes US$131,154.90.
Detailing the various administrations’ indebtedness, the school’s lawyers alleged that the Duncan administration assumed the obligation of US$138,726.92, and she paid US$15,110, leaving the balance of US$123, 616. 9. The Jacobs’ administration added US$46,918 worth of materials, but only paid US$17,440, increasing the total debt to US$153,094. 92.