14 June 2017

Liberian Police Dragged to Court Over U.S.$127,500 Rent Debt

Monrovia — Romeo Quioh, former acting Superintendent in Sinoe has instituted an action of debt against the Liberia National Police (LNP).

The LNP is sued for failure to pay the former Superintendent US$127,500.00 for his premises which they have occupied from 2014 to date.

In his complaint to the debt court in Montserrado County, Quioh said his 9 bedroom hotel in Sinoe has been occupied by Police Support Unit (PSU) officers.

The Police didn't make prior arrangement before deployment, so a written agreement wasn't done, he noted in the complaint.

"However, I being the acting Superintendent at the time and someone who is known to own and operate a hotel, I was requested by Sinoe County Police detachment commander, Commissioner Alexander Mooney to accommodate the officers in my hotel," the complaint further averred.

Quioh said all efforts to generate a formal lease agreement between him and the LNP to pay his rent for the use of the hotel remained futile.

"I request for his rent payment from Police at the average price or flat of US$25.00 per room per night, this price being a result of negotiation between me and the Police authority, as some of the five rooms were paying US$50.00 per night," he states.

The former acting superintendent said he wrote the Vice President who referred and put him in contact with the former Police Director Chris Massaquoi.

Police rented his place for 34 months, and the LNP current boss refused to pay but decided to push him around and eventually escape liability of the rent.

Quioh requested the court to adjudge the LNP liable to him in the amount of US$127,500.00 as rent for his hotel in Greenville.

In the rebuttal filed by the Police legal counsel said that the property in which the officers are occupying is realty.

"Respondent (LNP) the subject matter in this case is rent owed and is demanded to be paid and not about real property, as the real property is not in contest or the issue at bar."

The LNP requested the court to dismiss the action on grounds of jurisdiction.

Recently a motion to dismiss the action of debt was filed by the Police requesting the debt court to take judicial notice of counts one and two of the complaint filed by Quioh.

In count 1, Quioh states: "Plaintiff (Quioh) submits and complains that the LNP is occupying his premises, to be specific, a hotel building in Greenville, Sinoe County for 34 months beginning June 21, 2014 to April 30th 2017."

Count 2 said "the hotel has 9 rooms, and two stores downstairs. Five of the nine rooms are occupied and being used by the PSU officers of the LNP.

Each of the room is priced at US$25.00 per night, that thirty nights or 30 days times the US$750.00 time's five rooms equals US$3,750.00."

The Police said the venue of action is cardinal in the determination of the authority of a court of law.

"Accordingly, for any and all action filed before a court to be considered legal, the court must have jurisdiction over the subject matter, the person the thing involved in the action, that there is not another action pending between the same parties for the same cause in the Liberia and that the party asserting the claim has the legal capacity filing which a motion to dismiss shall be granted."

The state said rooms are occupied by officers of the LNP for which the rent is located in a hotel building located in Greenville, Sinoe County and that a hotel building is a real property.

The civil procedure law 1LCLR chapter 4 section 4.2 was cited by the Police.

LNP averred that the debt Court of Montserrado County does not have jurisdiction over debt action for a real property located in Greenville.

"Hence, the complaint filed by the Respondent (Quioh) should and ought to be denied and dismissed."

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