Prestige May Take US$10.7M GOL Debt to Int’l Court

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The long awaited ruling in a US$10.7 million vehicle procurement debt case against the government, may likely end up in an international court of justice, if the Commercial Court at the Temple of Justice fails to render a definite decision, the management of Prestige and Alliance Motor has threatened.

The company said its intention to seek redress from an international court is due to the delay on the part of the Commercial Court to rule whether or not it has jurisdiction to handle the matter, which state lawyers have argued the Court cannot hear because it took place prior to its establishment by an Act of the Legislature in 2010.

They did not name the international court to which they have resolved to file their case. Legal experts have observed that the matter could go to the ECOWAS Court.

The ruling has been with the court that is being presided over by a three judge panel since February 2015, according to the company.

“We filed the complaint against the government in 2012, and the court first heard the matter in February 2015, after which they reserved ruling,” the company’s legal team said.

“After that, the court again asked the parties to appear before it in October 2015, but mandated us to file a proposed ruling, which we did, and up to this time (we are) without a ruling,” he said.

“Our partner is putting extra pressure on the company to take the matter to an international court of justice for redress, since the court cannot tell us whether or not it has jurisdiction over the matter.”

The company, through the Sherman and Sherman Law Firm, in 2012, filed a lawsuit against the Liberian government contending that from 2000 to 2008, Mr. Haddad, a Lebanese businessman, sold and repaired vehicles and also supplied spare parts amounting to US$10.7 million to several government institutions, adding that the Liberian government is yet to pay the debt, despite Mr. Haddad’s persistent appeals.

Government lawyers said the establishment of the court in 2010 means the law that created it prevents the court from hearing cases prior to its establishment.

They further argue that if the court continues with the matter, it would be a complete violation of the Constitution and the Act that created it.

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