30 November 2012

Liberia: Good News for Loggers - Civil Law Court Orders Logging Unbanned

The Six judicial Circuit, civil law at the Temple of Justice has lifted with immediate effect, the temporary injunction placed on the operations of the holders of Private Use Permit (PUPs) who are involved in the logging activities throughout Liberia.

The injunction was ordered imposed as a result or a petition for declaratory JUDGMENT FILED by the Government of Liberia by and thru the ministry of justice, alleging tax frauds, tax evasion, and praying the court to enjoin the activities of all holders of PUP who are involved in the logging industry.

But in their returns and motion to vacate petitioner’s injunction, the logging companies, referred to as the Respondents, questioned the legal standing or legal capacity of the government to sue on behalf of the communities who are the 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, Southeast Resources and others under the Banners of Liberian Timbers Association, moved the court to dismiss the petition for improper venue and designation, noting that the nonpayment of taxes, tax frauds and evasion, 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 yesterday, the companies said they found difficult to believe that the ministry of justice, which is fully aware that the matter is pending at the supreme court and undetermined has chosen to file another law suit involving the same parties, the same issue and the same subject matter contrary to trial procedure, and therefore prayed court to dismiss the matter purely on jurisdictional grounds.

Meanwhile after carefully reviewing the petition and the returns filed by both parties, His Honor Yussif D. Kaba, resident/Assigned Circuit judge of the civil law court ordered the injunction on the holders of PUPs lifted forthwith and instructed the government of Liberia to file their reply to all of the claims made by the Respondents.

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