Delay Moves Court to Give Orange Liberia 24-hour Ultimatum

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Not long after taking over from Cellcom GSM, Orange Liberia has raised the ire of the Civil Law Court ‘A’ at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia.

The telecommunications operator’s problem stemmed from its delay to fully comply with the court’s order that instructed Orange to produce call logs and text messages of cell number 0777-056-185, which is reportedly assigned to one Leona W. Klay, a former juror assigned to the court.

Klay served as foreman (head) of a six-member jury panel which, on Friday, June 16, handed down a not-guilty verdict in favor of United Bank for Africa (UBA) in a US$16 million in damages lawsuit against the bank by Mamawa and Sons, Incorporated.

After the verdict, two other jurors, Thelma J. Sirleaf and Ayesah Sayon, accused Klay of communicating with the bank’s lawyers and that conversation resulted into the bank awarding them the amount of US$1,200 for their decision, though Sirleaf and Sayon claimed they refused to accept their share of US$200 each of the amount.

Based on that allegation, Judge Yusif Kaba issued a “Writ of Subpoena Deces Tecum” against Orange mandating its management to provide all the call logs and text messages of mobile number 0777-056-185 allegedly belonging to juror Leona W. Klay.

Subpoena Deces Tecum is an order of the court for a witness to appear at a particular time and place to testify and or produce documents in the possession of the witness. It is also used to obtain testimony from a witness at deposition (testimony under oath taken outside of court and at trial).

Failure to appear as required by the subpoena can be punished as contempt of court if it appears the absence was intentional or without cause.

The court’s mandate covered call logs and text messages allegedly made on June 16 commencing from 2 p.m. up to and including 7:30 p.m. by the cell number 0777-056-185, at which time the jury returned from their room of deliberation with the not-guilty verdict.

The mandate had directed Orange to make available the requested information by Tuesday, July 4, and to also testify on Thursday, July 6 (yesterday), which did not happen.

The reason given was that Orange did not capture the call logs and text messages from 2 p.m. up to and including 7:30 p.m. made on June 16, as was requested by the court, and instead presented call logs and text messages from 12 noon to 1:00 p.m., contrary to the subpoena.

Orange’s action yesterday was enough for the court to give them a day’s ultimatum to make available the call logs and text messages from 2 p.m. up to and including 7:30 p.m. made on June 16 by the cell number 0777-056-185 on Friday.

“If you fail to comply with the order of the court by Friday, the company will be held in contempt,” the court warned.

The case started when the bank had earlier claimed that some of its employees had connived with Mamawa and Sons, Incorporated and duped it of US$1,257,772, based on which allegation the defendants were charged with multiple crimes including theft of property.

Though the court is yet to hear the case, Mamawa and Sons, Incorporated claimed that the act caused the company to lose an US$87 million housing project contract, for which they are demanding US$16 million in damages.

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