30 January 2018

Liberia: Montserrado County Superintendent-Designate Held Liable for Over U.S.$63K Debt

Monrovia — The Commercial Court at the Temple of Justice has ordered the Superintendent-designate of Montserrado County, Madam Florence Brandy, to pay the East International Group, Inc. the amount of US$63,002.28 debt.

The ruling handed down early this week by Chief Judge of the Commercial Court, Eva Mappy Morgan, followed a determination made in the lawsuit that the construction firm filed to the Court against Madam Brandy, who has been appointed twice to serve as Superintendent of Montserrado County.

In the lawsuit, East International Group claimed that on December 9, 2013, they entered into a construction contract with the county when Madam Brandy was serving as Montserrado County Superintendent, for the rehabilitation of four feeder roads in the Montserrado County Electoral District #4 in the Soul Clinic Community.

The company said that the sum of US$235, 199.82 was charged for the contract and after some period the construction firm received two separate payments from Superintendent Brandy totaling US$145,000 thus leaving a balance of US$90,199.82.

The East International complaint filed by and thru its office manager, William Wei, indicated that after full performance on the contract, the company on February 21, 2017 wrote the office of the Superintendent for full settlement of the outstanding balance due to the contract but the Montserrado County Superintendent replied that the balance due now stands at US$55,199.82.

"After several failed attempts to have the balance contract sum paid, East International Group, Inc. through its legal counsel (name not disclosed) instituted a debt action against the administration of Montserrado County," said the company.

In the Commercial Court ruling, Judge Morgan stated that during the trial the East International Group, Inc. presented two witnesses, who testified in substance that the company and the defendant (Brandy) entered into a road construction contract for the construction of four feeder road projects in District #4 in the Soul Clinic Community at the cost US$235,199.82,

The court furthered that the plaintiff (East International Group Inc) instituted this action of debt after the said defendant (Brandy) defaulted on the payment arrangements and refused to pay the outstanding balance owed after the project was fully completed and turned over to the defendant.

According to the court, the Supreme Court of Liberia has held in the case, David Johnson10 LLR, 416 sly1, that where the clear and unrestricted evidence of plaintiff proves defendant liable to him, judgment will be given to the plaintiff and additionally plaintiff's witnesses stated for the record that the total amount outstanding as per the agreement of the parties stands at US$55, 199.82, which the defendant has not denied.

"Wherefore and in view of the fore-going laws, facts and circumstances adduced at the trial and the plaintiff having proved its case by the evidence consistent with Section 25.5 revised page 198, this court hereby adjudges the defendant liable to the plaintiff in the amount of US$55,199.82 together with the statutory interest as provided for under money judgment, which the court has amounted to US$63,002.28.

The Montserrado County Superintendent is the second official of the former Unity Party-led government to have been dragged to court by a company for debt.

However, unlike Brandy, the former Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Madam Julia Duncan Cassell, was early January 2018 order arrested by the same Commercial Court for her alleged refusal to pay a local IT Company Smart Tech the amount of US90,000 for providing and setting up a computer lab for the Ministry.

Though, former Gender Minister Cassell admitted the Ministry owing the company, but not her as an individual that owed the company.

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