15 August 2014

Liberia: Supreme Court Shuns Former Workers - Drops U.S.$742K Claim

Monrovia — The Supreme Court of Liberia has ruled to drop US$742, 750 claims by former employees of the National Port Authority (NPA) under the banner of Managers Association of the National Port Authority.

The former workers, according to court records on August 2, 2006 filed a formal complaint to the Labor Ministry at the time when former Minister Samuel Kofi Woods served as Minister accusing the NPA Management of bad labor practices due to its alleged failure to pay them their housing and other allowances in the amount of US$742,750

According to the court record the matter was investigated by the Ministry of Labor where the NPA Management was found liable, but the case was later transferred to the Labor Court at the Temple of Justice for further determination by the Labor Standard Division at the Ministry of Labor.

At the Labor Court the court record also stated that the case was heard and Judge Comfort Nah again found the NPA Management liable but its lawyer Cllr. Cooper Kruah rejected the ruling and filed an appeal to the high court against the Labor Court Judge ruling.

During the high court hearing Cllr. Kruah told the court that he took an appeal to the high court because the Labor Court had overlooked and ignored several fundamental facts in the case and called on the high court to reverse the decision which was rejected by the complaint's lawyers that the judge did not ignore any facts.

Barely five months after the hearing on Thursday, the Supreme Court delivered its opinion growing out of the case: The Management Association of the National Port Authority (NPA) compliant versus the management of the National Port Authority (NPA) setting the aside the Labor Court Judge Comfort Nah ruling.

In the high court opinion and judgment Associate Justice Kabineh J'aneh who read the opinion indicated that the records before the court had shown that the 42 employees under the banner of the association did receive cash payment of US$42,290 from the Management with documentary evidence that the Management of the NPA owes than no obligation.

Associate Justice Ja'neh furthered that in a perusal of the entire case records the high court could not find any clue as to whether the National Port Authority Management owes the aggrieved employees as claimed by them. The high court Associate Justice further said that considering the evidence and the law controlling in the case the trial Judge err when she did not take into account the fundamental facts in the case.

"It is the ruling of this court that the judgment of the Labor Court is considered reversed and cost disallowed and the clerk of this court is ordered to send a mandate to the Labor Court about the decision" said Associate Justice J'aneh.

The complaint/The Managers Association of the National Port Authority (NPA) was represented by the Sherman & Sherman Law Firm present in court was Cllr. Adama Sheriff while the National Port Authority (NPA) was represented by the Henries and Henries Law Firm and present in court was Cllr. Cooper Kruah.

However, the Supreme Court will on today, Friday continues with the handing down of its final opinion to be followed by a formal closing program to resume in October but Chief Justice Francis Korkpor had announced that the normal reception that followed the closing of the Supreme Court will not take place due to the Ebola outbreak.

"As the result of the present Ebola outbreak where people are warned against touching each other the reception after the Supreme Court closed is cut off "said Chief Justice Francis Korkpor.


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