Ruling Delayed in US$10.7M Vehicle Debt Case

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A US$10.7 million vehicle debt case at the Commercial Court in Monrovia appears to have suffered a setback as the court is yet to decide whether or not it will transfer the matter to the Supreme Court in spite of the government’s request to do so.

The delay was compounded in 2015 after the three judge panel disqualified government’s argument about the court lacking jurisdiction to decide the lawsuit that was filed against the state by the management of Prestige and Alliance Motor.

The government appealed that decision to the Supreme Court, but it has not filed a document which would have stated its dissatisfaction with the court’s ruling since 2015.

Despite government’s failure to file the matter to the Supreme Court, Chief Judge Eva Mappy Morgan of the Commercial Court has not entered a decision against the government regarding whether or not they risk losing control of the proceedings entirely, as she has done with many other cases.

Judge Morgan’s unwillingness to rule leaves the case in greater disarray, an indication that it may likely not be decided until the tenure of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf comes to an end, a legal expert predicted to the Daily Observer.

“Judge Morgan should have taken the court action ever since, but we have all been waiting for her action and nothing seems to be happening,” an executive of Prestige Motor, who wants to remain anonymous, was heard saying at the Temple of Justice last Friday.

“If that continues, it could push our company into bankruptcy. That could leave us with no alternative but to lay-off several of our employees. This is why we never wanted to go to court for justice that would be delayed,” the company senior staff said.

Meanwhile, state lawyers asked the court to dismiss the entire debt case, because it lacks jurisdiction to handle the matter.

They also argued that the act that established the Commercial Court in Article 6 (a) gives the court the power to adjudicate all commercial-related matters within its jurisdiction.

They further argued that prior to the debt proceedings, the court was not established and as such, it does not have authority over the matter, which the court proved to the contrary.

In the company’s lawsuit, the lawyers alleged that from 2003 to 2006, the administrations of the late Interim President, Charles G. Bryant, and that of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf rented a fleet of cars from his company for which they are yet to pay.

The lawsuit further alleged that Prestige Motor also provided services and spare parts to the government, which amounted to US$10.7 million.

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