With just 32 days to the elections, the Monrovia City Court has cited Simeon Freeman, the standard bearer of the opposition Movement for Progressive Change (MPC), to answer to the allegation that he has refused to pay a balance of US$850 for the printing of 40,000 flyers for his party’s campaign activities. The flyers were allegedly printed by the J. Max Printing Press in Monrovia based on an agreement with Mr. Freeman, of which he had paid US$750, leaving a balance of US$850. The court’s decision to cite Mr. Freeman came immediately after the chief executive officer (CEO) of the printing press, Eddie H. Vinton, filed a complaint against Freeman before Magistrate Kennedy Peabody.
The court’s letter to Mr. Freeman, a copy of which is with the Daily Observer, cited him to a conference with Peabody in his chambers today, Friday, September 8, at 1 p.m. The letter continued: “Your appearance is based on a complaint brought before the court by Mr. Vinton, CEO of the J. Max Printing Press, relative to the amount of US$850 representing balance amount of US$1,600 you allegedly owed him for printing your flyers. As this conference is geared towards amicably resolving this issue, we anticipate your presence and fullest cooperation in this regard.”
In his complaint, Vinton alleged that Mr. Freeman and his company entered into an agreement for him to print 40,000 flyers for the MPC’s campaign activities, which the entity completed, at the cost of US$1,600. Vinton alleged that after printing the 40,000 flyers, Freeman paid his company US$750, but has since refused to pay the balance of US$850.
“On several occasions, we went to Mr. Freeman’s office to collect our balance money, but we have not been able to meet him because each time we went there, we are told that Freeman is out of the office,” Mr. Vinton claimed. “This is why we have come to the court for redress.”
It may be recalled that during the 2011 general and presidential elections, which Mr. Freeman contested, a lady identified as Cynthia Wah accused him of asking her to offer him sex in exchange for US$250, which she claimed he defaulted on. Then, Mr. Freeman denied the allegation, terming it as ridiculous and a political ploy concocted by the ruling Unity Party (UP) to derail his bid for the presidency. He said he did not know Ms. Wah. “This stuff is politically motivated,” he said at the time.
Mr. Freeman subsequently filed a “terrorist threat” complaint against Ms. Wah to the Liberia National Police (LNP). He also filed a US$5 million dollar lawsuit against her for defamation of his character. The matter is still pending, but the ruling Unity Party has so far denied any knowledge of his allegation.
Meanwhile, Freeman is not the only presidential candidate in the 2017 Liberian elections who has been dragged to court for debt. The Daily Observer reported in mid-August that Dr. Jeremiah Whapoe, standard bearer for the Vision for Liberia’s Transformation (VOLT) Party, was ordered arrested by the judge of the Monrovia City Court for failure to pay back a debt in the amount of US$1,800, which he reportedly borrowed to purchase campaign materials. Dr. Whapoe reportedly fled to the United States recently to avoid being arrested by officials from the City Court.