GOL Using Delay Tactic in US$10.7M Case

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The Government of Liberia has implored another delay tactic in the US$10.7 m debt action filed against it by requesting the Commercial Court to adjourn the case for two weeks on ground that it wants to have consultation with the complainant to dispose of contending issues before the trial commences.

The much anticipated trial could not commence on Thursday, December 14, 2017 when state lawyer Cllr. Augustine Fayiah made a submission stating: “we request the court for two weeks adjournment in these proceedings slated for today to allow the parties further consult and narrow down all the contending issues before proceeding with the case.”

Cllr. Fayiah said the Government request was made in good faith and not intended to delay or circumvent these proceedings but to ensure that due process to law prevail and to avoid the waste of time if the trial should proceed.

Cllr. Moses Paegar, lawyer for Prestige and Alliance Motors Corporation interposed no objection but not withstanding drew the attention of the state that from the inception of the matter, it had been committed to an applicable resolution of the case.

Cllr. Paegar said for a very long time the complainant has been in consultations with the Government and has demonstrated an unimaginable capacity to accommodate it but regrettable the defendant has not been forthcoming as desired and envisaged by the complainant.

Judge Eva Mappy Morgan, head of the Commercial Court granted the two weeks request for adjournment made by the state but quickly pointed out that it was not the court that is delaying the trial.

Alliance and Prestige Motors, representing an American and German auto dealer in Monrovia sued the Liberian Government for failing in the last nine years to pay for vehicles and spare parts taken on credit in 2003 and up to March 2008.

The two corporations are of the Haddad Group of Companies, owned and managed by Lebanese Businessman George E. Haddad who filed the debt action in 2014.

The Commercial Court first and last heard the case in 2015, and was shelved as state lawyers
questioned the court’s authority whether it could preside over the matter.
Since the case resumed in 2017, the court has issued several notice of assignments for trial but the Government of Liberia upon receiving those assignments renege to attend the trial.

The Commercial Court was established in 2011 by the National Legislature as a specialized court to adjudicate cases arising of financial transaction since the Debt Court is limited in its financial scope of jurisdiction.
Writes P. Nas Mulbah