A ruling that should have established as to whether the Commercial Court at the Temple of Justice has the legal backing to hear cases involving millions of United States dollars against the government prior to its establishment in 2010, remains undecided.
The controversy came about in a US$10.7 million vehicle debt case levied against the Liberian government by lawyers representing Prestige and Alliance Motor Corporation, owned by Lebanese businessman, George Haddad.
State lawyers have argued that the court does not have the jurisdiction to hear the case.
The Commercial Court was established by legislation in 2010 as a specialized court to provide efficient and effective resolution in commercial cases throughout the country.
Despite the lack of jurisdiction argument, the court has demanded lawyers on the case to submit a five-page “proposed ruling,” which lawyers told the Daily Observer they have done.
However, the court is yet to carry out its decision into the matter, which legal experts described as “very delicate.”
According to one legal expert, “If the court agrees, it will give more business people that the government owed in the millions of United States dollars the opportunity to take similar action to collect their debt through the court.”
Sherman and Sherman Law Firm represents Prestige and Alliance Motor Corporation. The firm filed an “Action of Debt” against the Liberian government for allegedly crediting a fleet of vehicles from 2003 to 2006, totaling over US$10.7 million, which the government has failed to settle.
Besides the cars, the lawyers also alleged that the company provided spare parts during the transactions with the government, and has subsequently asked the court to give their client justice.
In a counter argument, state lawyers admitted owing the Lebanese businessman, but are arguing that the court lacks jurisdiction to hear the matter.