Authorities of the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) are expected to testify today on their knowledge in the ongoing US$10.7 million vehicle debt lawsuit that Prestige & Alliance Motors filed against the government in 2015.
The decision to have the MFDP appear stems from a mandate by the Commercial Court that compelled the Ministry of Justice (MOJ), the prosecuting arm of the government, to have the MFDP testify as to whether or not the government was indebted to the company.
Before the MFDP was cited, government’s lead lawyer, Augustine Fayiah, pleaded for the matter to be suspended, which was rejected by Chief Judge Eva Mappy Morgan.
The government of Liberia has neither denied nor confirmed its indebtedness to the company since the matter was taken to court in 2015, but GoL has challenged the authority of the court to hear the matter on grounds that the Commercial Court was established in 2010, which they argued prevents it from handling cases prior to its establishment.
The Prestige & Alliance Motors lawsuit alleges that the government is indebted to the company in the amount of US$10.7 million for vehicles and spare parts it supplied state actors from 2003, during the Gyude Bryant administration up to 2008, the first term of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s administration.
The case comes just weeks 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 lawsuit also comes a month to the end of President Sirleaf’s administration.