The Commercial Court at the Temple of Justice has summoned Winrock International to answer to allegations of a US$4,500,000 breach of contract brought against the US based entity by Semoh Group of Companies.
Semoh Group of Companies, Inc, (SGC Inc) said on May 1, 2014 it signed a contract with Winrock International for the construction of the Kwendin Biomas Electricity Pilot project for US$296, 535.56.
Court documents in the possession of the Daily Observer said “On July 18, 2014, seven modifications to the original contract were initiated and effected with an additional cost of US$82,507.80, thus increasing the contract value to US$379,043.37.”
SGC further explained that the duration of the initial contract was from May 1 to September 30, 2014 but due to the Ebola crisis in Liberia, including quarantines and border closures, on September 29, 2014, the contract was extended to October 14, 2014.
“In order to implement this contract, SGC obtained a performance Security Bond from the African Insurance Company of Liberia in the amount US$59,307.13 and an overdraft facility from the Afriland First Bank in the amount of US$150,000. Out of this amount, Semoh Group of Companies paid US$97,000.00,” it said.
According to SGC, Winrock International told them that in order to be qualified for the contract, they should obtain an overdraft from the Afriland First Bank in the amount of US$150,000 to send two of their staff to Ghana to finalize arrangements for the procurement of poles and cables, which it said was outside the terms and conditions of the contract.
“Up to the present, our staff members are still in Ghana awaiting final arrangements and payment by Winrock International and USAID so that the poles and cables can be brought to Liberia. Afriland First Bank has written the Semoh Group to settle its obligation with the bank,” the document said.
According to court documents, Semoh Group said while the project was still under their control and it had deployed huge quantities of resources, including manpower for the contract, USAID meanwhile decided to advertise the contract without the consent of Semoh Group, given the huge debt the company had incurred as the result of the overdraft from Afriland First Bank.