26 November 2012

Liberia: Ban On Logging Activities Lifted

The Sixth Judicial Circuit, Civil Law Court at the Temple of Justice has with immediate effect lifted the temporary injunction placed on the operations of the holders of the Private Use Permits (PUPs) who are involved in logging activities throughout the country.

The court's decision ordering the temporary injunction lifted for the resumption of logging activities in the country followed a careful review of the petition and the returns filed by both parties by the assigned Circuit Court of the Civil Law Court, Yusuf D. Kaba.

The injunction was ordered imposed as a result of a Petition for Declaratory Judgment filed by the Government of Liberia by and thru the Ministry of Justice, alleging tax frauds, tax evasion, and also, praying the court to enjoin the activities of all holders of PUPs who are involved in the logging industrial.

However, in their Returns, a Motion to Vacate Petitioner's Injunction, the logging companies, referred to as Respondents, questioned the legal standing or legal capacity of the Liberian government to sue on behalf of the communities who are holders of PUPs absent of any legal authority or instrument.

In their Returns, the logging companies that include Alpha Wood, Forest Ventures, EJ&J Investment, AKEWA Group of Companies under the banners of the Liberia Timbers Association, moved the court to dismiss for improper venue and destinations, noting that the nonpayment of taxes, tax fraud as alleged by the Ministry of Justice, are not cognizable before the Civil Law Court but rather the Tax Court of Liberia.

In a press release issued Saturday, the companies said they found it difficult to believe that the Ministry of Justice, which is fully aware that the matter is pending at the Supreme Court and has decided to companies file another suit involving the same parties, same issue and the same subject matter contrary to the trial procedure, and therefore prayed the court to dismiss the matter purely on jurisdictional grounds.

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