3 August 2012

Liberia: Supreme Court Over-Turns Judgment

Barely a week after the Tax Court shut down the Atlantic Wireless Incorporated otherwise known as Libercell for failure to pay by stipulation US$1,469,926.40 tax owed government among others, Associate Justice Kabineh M. Ja'neh has ordered Judge Eva Mappy-Morgan to appear before the chambers-in-Justice on Wednesday, August 8, 2012.

Associate Justice Ja'neh mandated Judge Morgan to stay all proceedings and return matters to "status quo ante" [the way things were before] pending the outcome the conference set for next Wednesday.

The lower court judge ruled on Monday that the company failed to comply with the payment stipulations despite repeated warnings.

Libercell committed itself to paying in ten installments the amount of US$1, 837, 407.95 from April 30, 2012 to January 31, 2013, in addition to the immediate 25 percent payment made on the arrears (US$612, 469.32) earlier in February 2012.

Libercell had vowed that the Tax Court set aside the stipulation and enforce the balance payments, if it failed to do full payment.

But upon its closure Monday, July 30, 2012 the company ran before the Supreme Court of Liberia and filed a writ of prohibition seeking a reversal of the Judge Morgan's action.

Libercell informed Justice Ja'neh in-Chambers that in accordance with the terms of stipulations, it initially paid 25 percent of US$612,469.32 and two subsequent monthly payments of US183, 740.80 each, totaling US$367,481.60. Libercell indicated that up to date it has paid almost US One Million Dollars.

The GSM Company, at the same time, told Justice Ja'neh that it was unable to make the July stipulation payment on grounds that it did not receive funds from its international source that had been remitting money to Liberia owing to unexpected financial difficulties.

"The national security will also be put in jeopardy because the petitioner's [Libercell] network is the one used primarily by the nation's various security agencies."

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