YMCA Seeks US$2M Lawsuit against Lebanese businessman Haddad

The management of the Young Men Christian Association (YMCA-Liberia) has filed a lawsuit against Lebanese businessman, Ahid E. Haddad, requesting him to pay US$2 million for holding on to their property without authority.

The lawsuit, "Petition for Cancellation of Lease Agreement," is filed in Civil Law Court' A’ at the Temple of Justice. According to the lawsuit, the YMCA also sought the court’s approval to rule all costs in the proceedings against the respondent and to grant the petitioner all reliefs that may seem legal, just, and equitable.

"And grant the petition for an order of cancellation of the lease agreement," the suit noted. Haddad is expected to file his response to the lawsuit on or before September 19 as the court has instructed him to do so before the first hearing being scheduled for September 20.

Failure on the part of Haddad to comply with the September 19 deadline or to appear for the hearing according to Judge Yamie Quiqui Gbeisaye would lead him (Judge Gbeisaye) to deliver a judgment by default against the respondent. It is not clear what happened that Judge Gbeisaye would take the stance of rendering judgment for default against Haddad.  Such a decision usually comes when the person sued continues to ignore the request of the court to appear for the proceedings.

The suit alleges that on January 6, 2015, the petitioner executed a 40-year lease agreement for a compound containing 2.0(two) lots of land with a one-story building located thereon, which commenced on September 1, 2015.

"During the negotiation of the lease agreement, the petitioner agreed that the respondent would demolish the existing one-story building and instead construct a four-story building when the agreement was finally drafted by the respondent," the lawsuit says.

It claims that Haddad has failed and neglected to insert therein the provision on the construction of the four-story building. According to the suit, the first five-year period of the agreement has elapsed and yet the respondent has not constructed any structure on the property, save for routine maintenance work such as painting, ceiling, and roofing works done on the existing one-story building. 

"The conduct of the respondent is one calculated and done to rob the petitioner of a fair enjoyment of the benefits of its property and its inherited rights therein," the suit indicates.

The suit also argues that under the Land Right Act 2018, “Leasing real property to a person who is not eligible to own land in Liberia shall be limited to ten years for an improvement of at least US$100, 000," Adding, "And fifteen years for an improvement of at least US$500,000 and twenty-five years for an improvement of at least US$1,000,000."

The lawsuit further argues that under the property law extant which henceforth governed leases generally, it states, "A Liberian citizen shall not lease real estate to any foreign person or foreign concern for a term longer than 21years."

"This is the law in this jurisdiction and indeed a principle of common law that contracts or agreements can be canceled when they do not conform to an existing statute or when the contract is unconscionable, or when there is a mutual mistake made by the parties to the contract," the suit alleges.

The YMCA is a not-for-profit youth development organization that is engaged in training and developing young people through leadership development, civic engagement, and job readiness.